By Nicole Sperling
Updated June 15, 2009 at 04:00 AM EDT
Sam Emerson

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds
Directed by: Anne Fletcher
Release date: June 19

What would lure Bullock back to the romantic comedy genre she had left for dead after 2002’s Two Weeks Notice? Why, the chance to be a bitch. In The Proposal, the actress plays an evil wretch of a Canadian boss who conspires to marry her beleaguered assistant (Reynolds) in order to stay in the U.S. ”I wasn’t doing romantic comedies because I’ve been so disappointed with the types of films that fall into that label,” says Bullock. ”Then I read this one. And I got pissed because I liked it.”

Bullock’s anger turned to submission as the producers kept adding people she admired to the project, such as her longtime friend Reynolds; Betty White, as Reynolds’ blunt-spoken grandma; and 27 Dresses director Fletcher (”Anne and I are basically the same person, with our crude analysis of humor,” Bullock says). It also helped that screenwriter Peter Chiarelli — a former MGM studio exec who turned in the script under the alias Jennifer Kirby to get it read objectively — created Bullock’s book-editor character as a ball-busting shrew with little interest in her underlings’ feelings. ”Peter wrote me like the guy,” says Bullock, ”and he never stopped writing me like the guy.”

Except, perhaps, in the nude scene. The crucial moment transpires when Bullock’s character steps out of the shower, searches for her towel, and stumbles into an equally unclad Reynolds. It was the only sequence that choreographer-turned-director Fletcher insisted they rehearse. ”I really wanted them to be naked,” says Fletcher, ”and they never batted an eyelash.” Jokes Bullock, ”I wanted to do full-frontal nudity before I turned 60, so, check.”