FEATURE SUSAN SARANDON
Few actresses combine Hollywood glamour, political integrity and dramatic talent as completely as Susan Sarandon. She tells Nigel Floyd how her personal and professional lives crossed under the directorial eye of husband Tim Robbins in Dead Man Walking.
ommenting on Susan Sarandon’s
unique screen persona, Gore Vidal
once remarked that ‘if pictures were
made with interesting women as
protagonists, she would have the
same rank and commercial appeal as Bette Davis enjoyed for decades’.
Perhaps this year, as she approaches her 50th birthday, Sarandon will get the public recognition she deserves from the ﬁlm industry she has served for 26 years. Having been Oscar- nominated for Atlantic City (1980), Thelma & Louise (1991), Lorenzo's Oil (1992) and The Client (1994). Sarandon now ﬁnds herself
12 The List 22 Mar-4 Apr 1996
shortlisted in the Best Actress category for Dead Man Walking, alongside Sean Penn (Best Actor) and Tim Robbins (Best Director). Nevertheless, she is philosophical about her chances.
‘Of course you’re disappointed if you don’t get a nomination,’ admits Sarandon. ‘The rational side of your mind is telling you about all the people that haven’t been recognised, how you’re in great company, and how politically complex it all is; but your emotional side is devastated, and you’re thinking, “God, it would have been so great for the ﬁlm”. And in fact, getting these nominations does mean that the film will have at least another couple of weeks
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in the theatres.’
One complicating factor may be the controversial speech which the ‘progrcssively liberal’ actress and her equally outspoken partner Robbins made at the Oscar ceremony three years ago, when they berated the US government for its racist policy of interning Haitian refugees with the AIDS virus. The pair have been an item since they met on the set of Bull Durham in 1988.
It was while ﬁlming The Client in New Orleans that Sarandon ﬁrst met Sister Helen Prejean, author of the book on which her latest ﬁlm is based. Educated herself at far from