For the political film, which debuted at the Toronto Film Festival, Sandra Bullock took on a role originally written for a man

By Jodi Guglielmi
Updated September 12, 2015 11:50 AM
Credit: Eric Charbonneau/Invision/AP

When Sandra Bullock first read the script for her new film Our Brand Is Crisis, she immediately knew she wanted in on the project. There was only one problem: The lead role was written for a man.

But Bullock wasn’t going to let that minor detail hold her back. The Oscar-winning actress, 51, reached out to the film’s executive producer – and her former Gravity costarGeorge Clooney to pitch the idea of a gender switch.

Clooney was immediately on board. The script was brought out of development and production began “the minute she called and said she wanted to play the role that had been written as a man,” he told reporters at the Toronto International Film Festival.

“Sandy finally came on board and we sort of switched things around. She was exactly the right guy to make the film,” he told Entertainment Tonight.

Making the switch wasn’t difficult.

“We changed the hims to hers, wardrobe and the anatomy was changed. Not a lot was done, just the obvious things,” Bullock told PEOPLE at TIFF. “It was pretty nice and seamless.”

After seeing the benefits of reworking the role for a woman, Clooney, 54, said he believes gender rewrites should happen more often in Hollywood.

“You’ll see this happening a lot, where they talk about there aren’t a lot of great roles for women,” he told ET. “The truth of the matter is there are plenty of these films where you can stop and look and just change the gender and make a really interesting film. So we need to start thinking that way.”

Bullock admitted that the role ended up being even more interchangeable than everyone thought. In one scene where Bullock’s character moons her rivals from a bus window, she joked that Clooney stood in as her “butt double.”

“George is a lot less hairy down there,” she joked. “Baby bottom, versus what I’ve got down there, which is a Chia Pet.”

The film, directed by David Gordon Green and based on the 2005 documentary of the same name, follows Bullock’s character Jane Bodine, a political mastermind brought in to help a Bolivian presidential candidate win his election.

Our Brand Is Crisis made its debut Friday at the Toronto International Film Festival, and will opens in U.S. theaters on Oct. 30.

For full coverage of the 2015 Toronto Film Festival – including the hottest premieres, the biggest stars and the buzziest films – check out, and