Exhilarating, fiercely liberating and bold for its time, Thelma And Louise told the story of two put-upon women who embark on a getaway road trip, after Louise (Sarandon) shoots a man who tried to rape her friend Thelma (Davis). Initially branded controversial upon release, it struck a chord with critics and viewers alike, and it’s now considered a feminist classic.
The pair – who are the selfie originators, BTW – reunited on the back of the film’s 25th anniversary to talk feminism, Hollywood and taking a leap of faith.
— Susan Sarandon (@SusanSarandon) June 19, 2014
“When we did Thelma & Louise, I really didn’t think it would have the kind of resonance it had. We thought it was fun, and we were cast in the types of roles usually played by guys. It wasn’t seen as any feminist statement,” Sarandon told Harper’s Bazaar. “I was very concerned that it wouldn’t be considered a revenge film. The real thing Louise is asking throughout the movie is, “Why do guys think this is okay? Would they want someone to do that to their mother or their daughter?”
We’ve been stuck in this world where Hollywood operates under the assumption that women will watch men, but men won’t watch women. We never get any momentum because everything’s a one-off
“The movie is a love story of women. It’s very romantic,” she said of the film. “When it came out, there were men, strangely enough, who wrote me letters that said, ‘Thelma & Louise got me to leave my small town.’ Because don’t dream it, be it.”
Geena Davis said she hoped that the film would change the industry for women, and see Hollywood embrace strong female leads as a whole and expressed her disappointment when this didn’t happen at the time: “One very common theme in the press was, ‘This changes everything. Now there are going to be so many female buddy pictures, so many female action figures. This just completely rewrites everything,’ and it didn’t. The really short answer is, it didn’t do sh*t.”
We want to do a tour on campuses because there’s this huge movement now to expose rape and make sure people are accountable. You don’t have to go off a cliff. I’m curious about having that conversation.
However, Davis spoke admirably of the women who are making their voices heard today.
“What gives me hope now are the young girls — Lena Dunham, Jennifer Lawrence — in Hollywood. I love all of them. I love everything they’re doing; I love how outspoken they are. And I love how the topic is getting brought up so much.”
Where would they be now, if they’d lived? Sarandon has a theory. “Well, Thelma’s definitely not with her husband anymore! One would only hope she found Brad Pitt again. Maybe Louise became a lesbian. That would be fabulous.”
Via Harper’s Bazaar