Geena Davis is an interesting and complex person, but she’s usually asked the same questions in interviews. Even with her incredible Geena Davis Institute on Gender Media, she’s usually just asked why she came up with it, which is a good question, but there are so many more to explore. I bet Geena will talk about her mistakes if somebody’d ask her, but they never do. While speaking on the Allison Interviews podcast, she was able to give a few new angles to her Thelma & Louise stories. One thing that is old news to most but new to me is that Geena wasn’t originally cast as Thelma. She had her agent badger the production team until Ridley Scott took over as director and agreed to meet with her. Geena also addressed ageism in Hollywood. She told a story about an actor she encountered, who was 20 years her senior, who told her she was too young to play his lover.
On how winning an Oscar affected how directors treated her: Speaking of winning the Oscar and does it change how people see you and everything, I had two directors, after I won the Oscar, who I had a rocky start with, because they assumed that I was going to think I was all that and they wanted to make sure I didn’t feel like I was all that. Without having met me or having spent any time with me or anything, they just assumed I was going to be like, ‘Well, now no one is going to tell me what to do.’
I think maybe because I was a woman, that the directors felt that way. And maybe it was even unconscious bias that they would do it to a woman and not a man. But they didn’t want a woman to potentially cause them any problems. They wanted to make sure I knew my place, and it probably wouldn’t happen to a man.
On how she won her iconic role in Thelma & Louise & Brad Pitt: I had read the script for Thelma & Louise after it had already been cast. I thought, ‘Oh my God! This is the best script I’ve ever read. I wish I could be in it.’ I ended up having a year-long pursuit for the role, because Ridley Scott was only the producer at that time, and different directors and different pairings of ‘Thelmas’ and ‘Louises’ were coming together and falling apart. For a year, my agent called at least once a week to say, ‘Just so you know, Geena is still available. She’s still interested.’ Then when [Ridley Scott] decided he was going to direct it, he immediately said, ‘Yes. Okay sure, I’ll meet with her,’ and I convinced him somehow or another (laugh).
They then cast Brad Pitt to be my sort of…. love interest, and it wasn’t actually because he was younger. They didn’t purposely try to cast someone younger than me. He just gave the best audition and he …read more