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With a special thanks to Kirsty for providing this! : - )

Actress Susan Sarandon was interviewed for Readers Digest by West Coast editor, Meg Grant.

READERS DIGEST: Its cold today.

SARANDON: It is so cold. We had all these kids on the bus; then we went to walk a few blocks to get to the museum. But I was stunned. And, of course, kids never want to put any clothes on.

READERS DIGEST: I know.

SARANDON: Which must be where the word cool got its meaning. I have one child turning 10 on the fourth, so were right about to do a big birthday party, and then one turning 13 on the fifteenth.

READERS DIGEST: So hes the seventh-grader?

SARANDON: He's a seventh-grader.

READERS DIGEST: Okay. So we'll talk about the kids a little, but first I wanted to talk about Igby Goes Down, which is opening in August, and then theres the upcoming The Banger Sisters, so I was going to ask about that too.

SARANDON: Sure.

READERS DIGEST: And then theres a third one, right?

SARANDON: [laughs] Well, The Banger Sisters and Moonlight Mile are scheduled to open on the same day, so they're battling it out. And thats in September, so I think Banger Sisters might be the twentieth and Moonlight Mile will be early September.

Moonlight Mile is a wonderful film. We just sneaked it at Taos, where I was getting an award, and the audience response... Now, I dont know what kind of demographic that audience was, but they were just amazing. They were so smart and so appreciative that both the director and I burst into tears. Because we'd never shown it [laughs] to an audience before.

And its fairly autobiographical, as is Igby, for the director, Brad Silberling. And its starring Dustin Hoffman and Jake Gyllenhaal.

READERS DIGEST: Which studio is releasing it?

SARANDON: Disney, but its a little movie, a really odd little movie. You should definitely try to see it.

READERS DIGEST: Whats the story?

SARANDON: [Moonlight Mile] is the story of a family. But before the movie opens, Dustin Hoffmans and my characters daughter is just in the wrong place at the wrong time and gets murdered. Its a random act of violence.

READERS DIGEST: Oh, wow.

SARANDON: Its a very dark comedy. One of the reasons that I was really interested in doing it was I'd never seen anybody grieve this way [laughs] ever in a movie. Shes a writer who has a writing block as a result of this throughout the movie. Dustins way of dealing with it is to just take care of everybody. I'm just kind of pissed off and just dont have any social graces whatsoever. And Jake Gyllenhaal plays the fiancÚ of our daughter who is going into the family business, and they were just about to get married. The invitations are in the mail. And he goes down to get the invitations back and meets a young woman who works in the post office. And he has a secret. So this family is in this house dealing with what goes on when people say the wrong thing to you and when you're trying to kind of get on with your life.

But at the end I think its very uplifting. And Holly Hunters in it. She plays the prosecuting attorney. And I don't want to tell you too much about it, but its...

READERS DIGEST: You know what it sounds like? It sounds like a Sissy Spacek movie.

SARANDON: Well, it is, but with a completely different take. Instead of revenge it goes in a completely different direction, but its not sentimental. Its very funny. Its not depressing.

At times its moving, I think, but a lot of it is [very real], like in the very beginning after the wake I just start burning all the self-help books everyones given us and dishing about all the people that came.

And, just things I think unless youve ever been in a situation, you just would never have the nerve to write something like this. But its very specific, and Jake is wonderful. Dustin was, is, I mean, we seem like weve been married forever...

READERS DIGEST: [laughs]

SARANDON: ...but its a very combative relationship. It takes place in 72, so the young woman that Jake meets, her boyfriends been missing in action for a number of years. So its kind of about moving on and healing and...

READERS DIGEST: And so they obviously establish a relationship.

SARANDON: Try to anyway, you know. I don't want to spoil it for you. But it got a very, a wonderfulresponse.

And then Banger Sisters also comes out, which is, well, my kids said to me one day, You have to stop playing mothers. All you've been playing is mothers lately.

READERS DIGEST: [laughs]

SARANDON: But thats like saying you have to stop falling in love because its been done before. I think that theres so many different kinds of mothers and family dynamics and situations, and I dont mind taking on the burden of championing all different kinds good mothers, bad mothers, mothers on a search, whatever.

READERS DIGEST: And Igby, boy, the Igby mother.

SARANDON: Shes pretty horrific. Shes like the anti-mommy. I felt compassion for her.

READERS DIGEST: Really?

SARANDON: I mean, how lonely and how messed-up... Shes not stupid, so she has to know. But it was funny, because every now and then I'd say, Well, Burr [Steers, the director], maybe here she just obviously feels bad. He said, No, she wouldnt feel bad. I said, Well, maybe youre going to want that color later on down the line when youre editing. No, he was very clear on who she was.

But finally at the end I think whats hard when you have a writer-director and all of these movies are writer-directors is allowing a movie to have its own life. And depending on how you cast it, even when you dont write a film, thats whats so interesting. It always becomes something that you didn't entirely expect. Even when everybody agrees on the vision that you have, its like throwing a pot. You put it in and then the color and the size just changes slightly, and you have to be brave and in the moment and go with the bonuses that you didnt expect.

READERS DIGEST: So like in Igby when, toward the end your character says, Well, you knew your father was... Whats his name?

SARANDON: J.R. or J. I dont remember.

READERS DIGEST: Right.

SARANDON: I havent seen Igby, by the way, so I can't completely comment on the finished product. I saw a very rough cut.

READERS DIGEST: I liked it. So what drew you to that? Was it again this family dynamic thing?

SARANDON: Shes just such a great character. And to be able to play somebody that blind and needy and... I just thought it was very original and its the kind of part you couldn't really do if it took three months because you're not getting paid anything. Its an ensemble cast.

READERS DIGEST: Right.

SARANDON: But if they can do you really quickly, I just thought that it had some great characters and why not? It was in New York. I don't think I could have left to do it in Malta or something at that particular time, but it had a kind of energy. And you dont find original pieces very often. My daughter has just started to do films, and she gets scripts all the time, and she can even tell whats going to happen after the first five pages. And, of course, after being in the business for as long as I have, its just so rare where you pick up a script and its original.

READERS DIGEST: Right.

SARANDON: And it has a really specific point of view, where the director feels very passionate about the project. And I have to say that thats what all three of these had in common. Moonlight Mile is one of these movies that took forever to get up, because its a very odd, you read it and youre just like, What is the tone of this? What is it about? But of course it meant so much to Brad.

He was invested, I think it was a very oh, I shouldn't speak for him, but it was one of those things that for him its some kind of passage, and probably for a lot of people that go to it.

I'll always go the distance with a director whos really committed to something, who has to tell a story. And I feel that if that were the way green lights were given instead of trying to duplicate a previous hit, you'd just be telling so many more interesting stories.

READERS DIGEST: Right.

SARANDON: But thats so rare.

READERS DIGEST: Your daughter Eva is, what, 16?

SARANDON: She just turned 17.

READERS DIGEST: Seventeen, and shes already reading the stuff and saying I've heard this story before.

SARANDON: I know whats going to happen and theres nothing interesting about it.

READERS DIGEST: Now, shes in The Banger Sisters.

SARANDON: Yes.

READERS DIGEST: And was that the first time? No, you've been...

SARANDON: Was that the first time that she...

READERS DIGEST: You've been in something with her.

SARANDON: Friends. We did an episode of Friends together.

READERS DIGEST: Okay.

SARANDON: That was very emotional for me at the end of the show because there I was with her.

She had a little part and she was great, and I just burst into tears. I mean, she'd been doing little bits and pieces in films for Tim [actor and director Tim Robbins, Sarandons partner] but not really opposite me. And doing Friends was a really fun experience, so that was a great way to start the whole...they were just so supportive and fun and relaxed. And...

READERS DIGEST: And then The Banger Sisters was the second time.

 

Readers Digest interview - page 2

Readers Digest interview - page 3

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Readers Digest interview - Page 5

Readers Digest interview - Page 6