Geena Davis in search of good roles for women


Geena Davis is particularly pleased with the role she has in "Thelma and Louise," a road film currently playing at local theaters.

She likes it because she and Susan Sarandon are the stars. They play women on the run from the law, and they carry the film. The men, well, they're supporting characters.

"There are just not that many good roles for women," said Davis. "This is one of the few good ones."

How about the role Demi Moore played in "Ghost?"

"Well, it was a good role. I don't want to diminish it in any way, but it was the male character who was going through it all," said Davis. "Hers was a good part, but I wish there were more roles for women who go on a journey. 'Thelma and Louise' explores all that.

"I had a good role in 'Accidental Tourist,' but it was the lead male character who went through all the major changes. I loved the part. I'd love to do more of those. I loved getting the Oscar for it, but where are the really good roles for women? I hope this film and others like it do it for women."

Didn't the Oscar do something for you? Were you swamped with scripts?

"Sure," said Davis, "bad ones. But I want to do good things."

She's blond now. Do blonds have more fun?

"I don't know about that, but I'll tell you what's funny," she said. "People recognize me more than they did."

She got along very well with Sarandon during filming. "I thought I would be intimidated by her, but that wasn't the way it was," she said. "She has a very playful side, one you discover when you get to know her. She's more direct than I. If she doesn't think a certain scene will work, she says so. I'm more evasive."

Someone at a recent press conference mentioned that most of the male characters in "Thelma and Louise" were not particularly nice.

"Well, we're not great characters, either," she said.

She has her own production company, but right now there is nothing on the horizon.

"It takes a long time for something to happen," she said. "The production process is so complicated."

Asked if she is being typecast as a dimwit, Davis demurred.

"I take exception to that," she said. "I was Miss Normal in 'Beetlejuice.' And the character I played in 'Accidental Tourist' didn't strike me as ditsy. She was a fiercely independent person, a woman who had had a hard life. She was an individualist who was never trying to sell herself to anyone."

When she was given the script for "Thelma and Louise," Davis didn't know which role she would play. "First I wanted to be Thelma, then I wanted to be Louise," she said. "They even said I could play Louise, but I wavered back and forth and finally settled on Thelma.

"But I'd have been happy to play Louise, too," she said.


Christopher McDonald, who plays Davis' husband in "Thelma and Louise," had known Davis before they did the film. She and McDonald, in fact, were an item, but it didn't take.

They got along well during the making of the film, however. "We didn't talk to each other at one point," said McDonald. "It was nice to bring all that to the film."

So who dumped who?

"I don't know" said McDonald. "It just didn't work out."

You won't recognize McDonald in the film, and it isn't because you haven't seen him before. You have ("Chances Are"), but he looks different in "Thelma and Louise."

"I should," he said. "I put on 38 pounds, darkened my skin and had my hair curled, because that's the way the character was described in the script."

He's taken most of the weight back off, "save for the last eight or 10 pounds, and they come and go," he said. "I'll never do that again, not unless I'm going to play Jake LaMotta."

So far, he's done only supporting roles. Would he like to be a star?

"Oh, sure, I'd love that," he said. "I'd love to do Gene Hackman roles."

He was going to be a doctor and changed his mind. "It's so sterile and competitive," he said, "and look at all those dentists who jump out of windows."

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