Susan Sarandon on Brad Pitt in Thelma & Louise: He didn’t get by on his looks


This year marks the 30th anniversary of the film Thelma & Louise. Last Friday, they had a big drive-in event at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, which is a both in theme with the movie and socially distanced. The event benefitted the LA Regional Food Bank and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. Both Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon came to the reunion, but they were the only cast that showed up. Apparently there were no hard feelings because Susan later gushed to Us Weekly about how her former Thelma & Louise co-star, Brad Pitt, brought so much to his character in the film, J.D. Susan said when actors are as attractive as Brad was in ‘91, they usually just coast on their looks, but Brad never did because he’s, “a character actor.”

Susan Sarandon knew early on that Brad Pitt was one to watch when they costarred together in 1991’s Thelma & Louise.

Pitt, 57, played J.D. in the iconic film, a drifter who gets entangled with Geena Davis’ Thelma as she and best friend Louise (Sarandon) are on the run from police after Louise shoots and kills a man.

“I think he’s great — it was clear to me when I saw the film, certainly when we worked together in the convertible. Although I did not have the intimacy that Geena had,” Sarandon, 74, exclusively told Us Weekly while raising awareness for a Power to the Patients PSA. “It was clear that he was fun and relaxed and inventive. But when I saw the film, there was so much more that he brought to the film with that character that really wasn’t in the script. That’s when I looked and I thought this guy’s a character actor. He’s acting. When you’re that good looking, you really don’t have to do much. … He really played a character. He didn’t try to get by on his good looks.”

[From Us Weekly]

I only ever saw Thelma & Louise once. I don’t think I was in the right headspace to see it because it never did anything for me. I just remember feeling sorry for Thelma’s naivety. I hated the J.D. storyline, so I wasn’t wowed by Brad’s beauty, although A River Runs Through It swayed me there. I don’t agree with Susan on this point, but I don’t totally disagree with her either. I believe Brad is well aware of his looks and how many doors they open for him. I think that’s why he’s worked to “preserve” them. However, I also think he tries to bring more than his looks to the parts he plays. He was, in fact, terrifying in Kalifornia. He was also beautiful. His beauty helped make him so terrifying in that part. He doesn’t always succeed in bringing something worthwhile, though. And sometimes he attempts to bring weight to a part where he should have just let his face do the heavy lifting coughMeet Joe Blackcough. But hey, he tried.

Why Susan defended Brad, I don’t know. We could argue she was asked but Susan went on to praise Johnny Depp with the same “not resting on his looks” compliment. She went so far to say of Johnny, “he’s been very brave with his choices and has played on sympathetic characters. And I think he’s great. I really love him.” Clearly Susan just wants us to know she’s an excellent judge of character. As for her own work, Susan was equally complimentary, blaming the studios for her films that didn’t land. Ironically, she specifically mentioned her film Anywhere But Here being left in the wind by the studio in favor of the much more popular Fight Club, starring none other than Brad Pitt. Damn those pretty boys!




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35 Responses to “Susan Sarandon on Brad Pitt in Thelma & Louise: He didn’t get by on his looks”

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  1. Darla says:

    Brad’s a good actor. I wouldn’t give him a character reference, and don’t get me started on Depp. But the important thing is; Susan Sarandon is terrible. An awful person. Of course she ran to give Depp a character reference. Maybe she found out Amber voted for Hillary in the primary.

    • SarahCS says:

      My take away is garbage person defends other garbage people. There we have it, birds of a feather and all that.

  2. Becks1 says:

    Anywhere but Here was a terrible movie.

    As for Brad Pitt – personal life aside, I do think he’s a surprisingly decent actor. I really liked him in Once Upon a Time in California, and he was really good in Fight Club and Ocean’s Eleven (although I feel like that movie was just him paling around with Clooney.)

    But, his role in Thelma and Louise was ALL about his looks, I’m sorry, lol.

  3. bubbled says:

    I loved the book Anywhere But Here, but the movie was terrible.

  4. Ariel says:

    I just recall when Thelma and Louise came out, the first ad campaign framed it as a buddy comedy road trip movie… which it is NOT.
    Great movie. But it’s rough to watch some scenes.
    And he was pretty.

    He and Sarandon are disappointing as humans, but it’s not their job to get my approval on their media strategies or political statements, or moronic Johnny depp comments.

  5. Sierra says:

    Brad definitely got in due to his looks. I only started liking his acting in early 2000s.

  6. Noki says:

    I dont like Brad in comedic roles at all (eg his Friends cameo was one of the worst I have ever seen). But he does well in dramatic roles(Seven and Legends of the Fall were amazing).

    • Esmom says:

      Agreed. He is never natural when he does comedy, he always seems wooden and try-hard. His Friends cameo was mind-bogglingly atrocious. And even his comedic banter in Ocean’s seems like obvious acting and not natural.

      I didn’t see his attractiveness in Thelma and Louise, he was just a skinny, unmemorable guy to me, but I did see it after that.

      • Noki says:

        I wanted to mention Oceans too but You summed did it perfectly. He is acting very OBVIOUSLY, you can almost see the set,and hear cut. Very strange because he does have the chops,we have seen it. He is hit and miss.

    • Ana170 says:

      It depends on the role. He was terrible in Friends but that’s partially because he just doesn’t do well on TV. He’s too over-the-top for the medium. He’s hilarious in roles like Snatch and Burn After Reading. I could speak at length about why Meet Joe Black didn’t work but I’ll just say it’s not really any of the actors’ fault.

      I’m not ready to dismiss him as a garbage human. We don’t know what happened with his family. It’s not that I think Angelina is lying it’s just that I’ve learned that different people see different things as abuse. Without more information, I can’t blame him for wanting to continue his relationship with his children.

  7. Driver8 says:

    I rewatched Thelma and Louise a few weeks ago and thought it was wonderful. Everyone in that movie is excellent. Geena Davis is the one that held my attention. She is way more beautiful than Pitt, lol

    • Ann says:

      I agree – I’m 56 and watched it again about a year ago. Amazing how decades of life experience can change your perception of a movie. I liked it my 20s, but with everything that’s happened in my life and society over the past 30 years, I LOVED it in my 50s. GREAT movie! A must see.

    • SarahCS says:

      I’d like to re-watch it. I remember being a teenager and renting it every time I stayed over with my best friend as it was the only movie we could agree on! I’m not sure we’d have been old enough to rent it ourselves (was it a 15?) so maybe her mum got it for us each time.

  8. girl_ninja says:

    Just came to say Susan Sarandon is the worst. She’s also quite small. I saw her with her son at a Whole Foods in RI a few years ago.

    • Nan says:

      Ditto, girl_ninja – she is the worst and she really is teensy – I’ve seen her irl too. It surprised me because for some reason I thought she was a taller person onscreen.

  9. thaisajs says:

    Well, he didn’t get by on his brains, that’s for sure.

  10. TeamMeg says:

    I remember seeing this “Brad Pitt is really a character actor” theme start showing up around the time he did that last Tarantino film, but I didn’t know Susan S. thought of it first. Or did she? It is possible, considering she was one of the first stars to work with him, once upon a time way back in 20th century Hollywood…

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      I heard someone say years ago that Brad Pitt is a character actor in a leading man’s body & that made so much sense to me. His performance in Inglorious Bastards was really fun & not centered on his looks. But the leading man look is also why he gets cast in roles he can’t pull off. Meet Joe Black was awful. It’s hard to understand how two attractive leads can make a movie about as sexy as a bowl of cottage cheese.

  11. Barbie1 says:

    One of the few movies he was actually good in.

  12. Blues says:

    Hard Pass on both because they are sad people. Brad is a wooden actor. MJB was awful. He has gotten by on his looks snd yes Kalifornia and Ass of Jesse James was his best work. Why? They were closer to his true self. Dark, deeply complicated people.

  13. Esme says:

    Pitt is occasionally a good actor, but sometimes he’s not naturalistic, he’s too over the top. Some actors can do the over the top thing and get away with it, but not Brad. It just works for the great ones: DDL, Hopkins.

    Deep was a great actor before he was ruined by all that Disney money and became a scarf monster.

    Geena is good mid level actress, consistent.

    Sarandon coasted on her looks for much of her career. She’s a middling actress, IMHO.

    Of course Pitt is despicable, Depp is worse, Sarandon is an idiot, and Geena seems like a great person. Acting ability doesn’t say much about moral character, sadly.

    • Lyds says:

      Geena Davis is such an amazing/underrated actress, IMHO! I just loved her in T&L and A League Their Own. Those performances still hold up, especially since the characters, while both small town, are polar opposites.

      I actually liked SS in T&L, Stepmom, and yes even Anywhere but Here. It wasn’t convincing that she was supposed to be the bombshell mom that made her and Natalie this irresistible duo (as they were supposed to be in the books), but her personality and mannerisms sold it. Side note: I always get Anywhere but Here confused with Where the Heart Is and will watch both if they’re on, LOL.

  14. terrah says:

    He is a dodgy fella right enough, BUT he was hilarious in Burn After Reading. I reckon he can act and can be funny.

  15. Jilly. says:

    Oh Geena. What did you do to your face. So sad. I would never ever want to be famous. SS sucks but has aged very well.

  16. LOL says:

    So Brad pitt used Geena Davis who was an A List star the time and him just watched hired pretty boy, to further his career. Looks like using women and his looks to further his career has always been his agenda on his minimal acting talents 😉

  17. LOL says:

    How many more years are Geeba abd Susan keep acting as Brad Pitt was gods gift. You’d think they have it in their contracts to keep kissing his backside

    • SomeChick says:

      maybe they do! or maybe he turned on the charm and lovebombed them to further his career since he was pretty much nobody at the time…

  18. Lyds says:


    Brad’s best acting: Seven. I believed him and I believed his love for Gwyneth, his slight contempt but begrudging respect for Morgan Freeman, and his desire to kill Kevin Spacey with his own hands.

    Worst (that I’ve seen): Babel. Is that grief? Is that anger? I don’t believe Cate Blanchet is your wife or that you care.

    Honorable mentions: Legends of the Fall, OUATIH, Kalifornia, Thelma & Louise, The Devil’s Own, Inglorious Basterds, Fight Club

    In everything else he’s just completely unmemorable and replaceable.

  19. Marigold says:

    I remember thinking he was so beautiful in Thelma And Louise. I like cowboys and he really turned my head. Geena is a wonderful actress and I’ve always liked her work. I used to like Susan, but her politics are horrible and I will never watch anything she is in if at all possible.

  20. jferber says:

    I still think Thelma and Louise was a great movie. I remember it very clearly and I’m ashamed to say, I still remember the WOW moment when I first saw Pitt. Just like I had a WOW moment first seeing Bill Clinton while he was governor of Arkansas and seeing Barack Obama at the Apollo Theater just after he won the presidency. Sexy, charismatic, good-looking men who definitely command attention.

  21. Kyra says:

    Gah, she is such a tool of the patriarchy. All about the boys. As for getting on by your looks, she’d know; she started as a model.

  22. Shanaynay says:

    Personally, I don’t give a sh*t what SS has to say. She just needs to STFU!!!!!