susan sarandon


By Crash redaction

Rediscover our interview of Susan Sarandon from our issue #80

You have played in so many amazing movies that are now cult… How do you see your career now? Do you think you have been lucky to work with such incredible directors?

Yes, I have been very lucky to have the opportunity to work with great filmmakers and I am very lucky to have survived so long in the business. There are not so many people that start out so young and stay until they’re seventy. I am very happy and still having a good time.

So many actresses of your age are not working anymore. What do you think about that?

Well, I am sure that some of them just got tired of doing it and I am sure that there are others that would like to keep playing but have a hard time finding parts. There aren’t that many stories that have an older woman or an older man as their centerpiece. So it’s hard to find work. For me, I have always seen myself as a character actor so that makes it a little bit easier for me. If you don’t mind playing supporting parts, then I think you can have a longer career. But for people accustomed to playing leading ladies, it’s not always easy to make that transition.

You are not afraid to play mothers, or women who are really you age…

I like working but it depends mostly on the part. I don’t mind if the part is small but I hope in some way it is necessary to telling the story. If you are working with great people and interesting directors it’s amazing. I love to be part of their world, being on the set again is really delightful and challenging. I am about to start shooting a movie where I will have a small but fun part and with people I admire. I always think, what the hell that might be fun! That’s my attitude, I look at it as an enriching personal experience and at the same time, I’m getting paid!

So, for you, the project is more important that the part you will play?

I want to be able to play a part that challenges me but the experience is really important: who you are working with, where you are shooting. Actually, you never know how something is going to turn out. When I shot The Great Waldo Pepper with George Roy Hill and Robert Redford right after they had had a huge success with The Sting, it was not as successful. You never know what is going to happen. You have to do it for what you are going to get out of it at that moment. For me, I would never make that decision based on the money.

You worked with Louis Malle in Pretty Baby. How was your experience with this filmmaker?

I remember that at Cannes, it was a bit of a scandal. It was the first time I went to Cannes, I was just looking at some pictures from that time. Cannes was crazy but it didn’t feel as corporate as it does now. I didn’t have any designer dress on, I had no hair and make-up team. I remember hanging out with Diane von Furstenberg and Barry Diller and some of the other French actors. At the actual opening, there was a riot and I remember Louis just went ahead and we got pushed into the door. I was in shock and Diane just took my hand – I will always be grateful to her for that.

Do you have the feeling that Cannes is more about glamourous and beauty now?

I think it has always been about beauty and all of that. I remember Cannes at that time as being a place that had a lot of really meaningful memories. It was more about personalities as opposed to producers and all of that. Now, you are dealing with a feeling that it is less individual and more corporate. I am not criticizing necessarily, just saying it definitely feels different.

Maybe it’s not only Cannes, but all the cinema industry that is now related to money…

Yes, look at what happened to the old Hollywood where you used to have the crazy studios who liked to make movies. Now they are owned by corporations. It’s definitely different.

Watching you work, it looks like you are still trying to work in a very independent way, right?

There’s no pattern to the kind of job I choose. I do small films and big films.

Do you follow the advice of your agent or do you choose your projects on your own?

I will ask for a perspective from my agent but my agent definitely knows that I make up my own mind. They understand that I can be interested in certain projects that may not be successful. But at the end of the day they always support my decision.

You’re now working with the amazing film maker Xavier Dolan on his next movie, The Death and Life of John F Donovan. Tell us more about this project.

I love him. He is passionate about what he does. He is very brave. He is involved in every aspect – it can be the design of the wallpaper, everything! I love that he cares so deeply. His aesthetic is a little bit pushed and the film has a lot of great actors in it. I had seen Mommy in Cannes and had really liked it. I was very happy to join him for this project. I play the leading character’s mother and he is played by Kit Harington. He is a guy who is a pretty famous television star who is trying to become authentic with who he is. It explores his relationship with the tabloids. Jessica Chastain plays the part of the tabloid’s editor-in-chief. Kathy Bates is the manager and publicist. Adele also has a part. I really enjoyed the experience of working with Xavier. He has a great sense of humor. His vision is very clear. I think it’s very interesting that he knows all his crew very well. He has worked with the same people since his first films. It’s like a family.

What about the TV series Feud? You play the part of Bette Davis and the transformation is impressive.

It was a very scary project to take on because everyone knows Bette Davis. I had played real people before but I don’t think I had played anyone like her. I loved working with Ryan Murphy and Jessica Lange. I think it was important to have 8 hours to tell that story because it was based on a lot of pain. The studio and gossip columns worked hard to fuel the feud because they wanted it to be very dramatic. It’s a technique that hasn’t changed. You know, when a man and a woman do a film together, the rumor is that they are sleeping together, But when two strong and famous women make a film together, the rumor is that they fight. That’s classic.

Read the full interview on Crash#80, available in our Crash store.


Photograher : Martin Schoeller

Stylist : Jessica dos Remedios

Interview : Armelle Leturcq

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