‘Thelma & Louise’: Geena Davis’ Agent Called Producers ‘at Least Once a Week’ to Get Her the Role

The famous movie Thelma & Louise, starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, saw critical and commercial success despite stirring controversy upon its release. Critics and film writers commented on the road trip movie’s strong feminist overtones and ushering in a new age for Hollywood — not to mention, it introduced many to Brad Pitt, who played Davis’ love interest. It influenced several other female-led films and shows, even today.

Having solid leads and an intriguing storyline played significant parts in the success of Thelma & Louise. While Davis and Sarandon played their respective roles flawlessly, Davis was not the first choice for the iconic movie. 

‘Thelma and Louise’ shook up the film industry 

Geena Davis on a pay phone in 'Thelma & Louise'
Geena Davis stars in the film ‘Thelma And Louise’, 1991. | Fotos International/Getty Images

What started as a girl’s road trip to the mountains turned into an unexpected final adventure for the two best friends in Thelma & Louise. The plot followed pals seeking a weekend break, who committed crimes, including murder, robbing, and running from the FBI. The 1991 release of Thelma & Louise prompted much controversy among critics, from its empowerment theme to the unplanned kiss Sarandon and Davis shared.

Over 30 years later, it is one of the most popular movies of the time. Thelma & Louise is often noted as one of the landmark feminist films. The movie blends sarcasm and heavy storylines with an iconic ending of the two women driving into the Grand Canyon to avoid apprehension by the authorities. 

How did Geena Davis land ‘Thelma & Louise’? Persistence

Thelma & Louise fans would never imagine the time required for finding the actors for the beloved pairing because Davis and Sarandon now appear natural choices. However, it was only because original casting choices did not work out due to delayed preproduction that Davis and Sarandon won the roles of Thelma and Louise. 

In January 2022, Davis recapped how she landed the role of Thelma Dickinson in an interview with Allison Kugel. The actors said she read the script for Thelma & Louise after casting ended and thought, “Oh my God! This is the best script I’ve ever read. I wish I could be in it.” Luckily for Davis, the pairings kept coming together and falling apart. Therefore, she had her agent call producer Ridley Scott once a week for a year to let him know she was both available and interested. 

After Scott decided to direct the film, he agreed to meet with Davis. ” I convinced him somehow or another,” she explained. The rest is history.

Davis’ film career and professional expansion

Davis’ film debut in Tootsie led to various appearances in TV series. She soon landed her role in the sci-fi thriller The Fly in 1986, which helped establish her further. Soon after, Davis appeared in the cult classic Beetlejuice. She later took home her first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in The Accidental Tourist. 

While Davis’ film career peaked around the time of Thelma and Louise, she appeared in several popular movies throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, including A League of Their Own, Cutthroat Island, and the hit family comedy movie Stuart Little and its sequels. 

While Thelma and Louise inspired other films, it still marks a turning point in feminist cinema. So, unsurprisingly, in Davis’ later career, she dedicated much of her time to fighting for gender equality in media. Davis launched the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media in 2004 to work with the entertainment industry to help increase the presence of female characters on screen. 

By the 2010s, Davis’ career expanded thanks to her organization and her decision to shift to television acting. Grey’s Anatomy fans should recognize her for her recurring role as Dr. Nicole Herman.

RELATED: Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn Pitched Themselves For ‘Thelma and Louise’: Streep Had a Different Ending in Mind