Susan Sarandon Decided How Her Best Movie Would End

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Susan Sarandon came up with the climactic kiss ending of Thelma & Louise.

By Douglas Helm
| Published

The ending of Thelma & Louise is among the most iconic cinematic endings of all time. The ending of the two kissing before driving off the Grand Canyon together is about as perfect as the ending could be, both thematically and emotionally. However, it wasn’t always going to end that way and Susan Sarandon gave the idea to director Ridley Scott that the movie should have that impactful climax.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Susan Sarandon discussed her career and the input she had while filming Thelma & Louise. Apparently, director Ridley Scott always was planning on having Louise die, but he thought about having her push Thelma out of the car, saving her at the last second. Instead, Sarandon explained that she told Scott “we had earned that moment to be together,” adding “I want to cut a lot of this dialogue, and by that time we’re finishing each other’s sentences, and I wanna kiss her.”

Thelma & Louise

It just goes to show how important collaboration is in the creative process. Thelma & Lousie would have undoubtedly been a great movie with a different ending, but Susan Sarandon’s suggestion turned it into an absolute classic. Now, it’s hard to imagine the movie ending any other way.

Thelma & Louise was iconic for more than just its ending. It features fantastic performances from both Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, along with a very early role for Brad Pitt, and great directing from Ridley Scott. It also featured an Oscar-worth screenplay from Callie Khouri.

While Callie Khouri nabbed the Oscar for her work, she wasn’t the only one the Academy recognized that year for Thelma & Lousie. Ridley Scott, Geena Davis, and Susan Sarandon all received nominations for their work. It was also nominated in the Best Film Editing and Best Cinematography categories.

Interestingly, Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis’s dual Best Actress nominations are the most recent example of a film’s two leads being nominated in either the Best Actress or Best Actor category together. While Geena Davis had already taken home the Best Actress Oscar for 1988’s The Accidental Tourist, Susan Sarandon would have to wait another four years to win for Dead Man Walking in 1996. Ridley Scott has been nominated at the Academy Awards three times since but he has yet to take home an award.

Susan Sarandon’s most recent work can be seen on the country music drama Monarch on Fox. The series just started its first season this September and it features Sarandon and Trace Atkins as Dottie Cantrell and Albie Roman, who are looking to protect their country music legacy after their dynasty is put in jeopardy. The series has been getting pretty bad reviews, but the next episode airs on September 27 if you’re looking to check it out.

Susan Sarandon also has a huge blockbuster on the horizon, with the upcoming DC film Blue Beetle. Blue Beetle will star Xolo Mariduena as Jamie Reyes, a Mexican teenager who finds an alien beetle that gives him superpowered armor. Susan Sarandon is set to play the villain in the film.

Blue Beetle will also star George Lopez, Adriana Barraza, Elpidia Carrillo, Damián Alcázar, Belissa Escobedo, Bruna Marquezine, Harvey Guillén, and Raoul Max Trujillo. Angel Manuel Soto directs with a script from Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer. The movie is set to hit theaters on August 18, 2023.