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Susan Sarandon: Thelma and Louise would never have been made today in sexist Hollywood

Posted by
Harriet Hall
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Susan Sarandon has said that she doesn't think Thelma and Louise would have been made if it had been pitched today, except perhaps as an animation. 

The 1991 Ridley Scott directed picture is one of the most iconic films about female friendship of all time, was nominated for six Oscars and sent Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis shooting into the stratosphere of fame. Widely considered one of the best road trip movies in history and a cult feminist film - having been written by a woman (Callie Khouri) and starring two female leads - it was initially lauded for heralding a new era in film – one that would increasingly tell female stories.

But, speaking at a Kering Women in Motion event at the Cannes Film Festival to celebrate 25 years since the feminist road trip movie was released, Sarandon and Davis discussed the lack of progress in the industry since the film’s premiere.

“Well I don't think the studios have fallen off their horse and had some kind of epiphany about women in film,” said Sarandon.

 “After Thelma and Louise, they predicted there would be so many films starring women. But it didn't happen.”

Asked if she thought the film would be made today, she replied: “Maybe as an animation?”

Davis added that: “The thing about film is it can change overnight. It isn't like real life, where it takes so long to get women to be half of congress or boards or CEOs. 

“The next movie somebody makes can be gender balanced. We don't have to sneak up on it, just do it.”

thelma and louise

Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon at Cannes

Sarandon said that the reason for this not going ahead was because “There are still many more male executives making these decisions,” and that “whereas women can see a woman or a man in a leading role, I don't think it's as easy for a guy to see a woman in a leading role and say 'I'll get behind that.

“I think it's a cultural thing, and that's part of what slows it down: a lack of imagination on the part of men.”

Sarandon admitted the film had never been intended as a feminist statement but that, nonetheless “there were a lot of people who were very offended by the movie.”

The actor went on to say that “because women having those kind of options got people upset, suddenly we were accused of condoning suicide which was ridiculous” – referring to the film’s ending in which the two friends drive off a cliff to escape the police.

Sarandon’s comments come just weeks after a recent study revealed the shocking lack of female speaking roles in film, and another exposed the level of sexism in the UK industry, as well.

When the topic of discussion turned to the Hollywood hot button topic - the gender pay gap - Sarandon humbly admitted that actors are “all paid preposterously considering what we do,” but it doesn’t warrant men being paid more than women:

“Why should we not be paid as preposterously as men?” she added.