Make your own free website on


Page 4
Quiz - What kind of fan are you?
Guest book
Flowchart - Which Susan character are you?
Susan interviews and articles
News and Gossip
About Susan
Related Links
Contact us

SARANDON: No, I had done a project after my visit a personal project where we raised money for about 50 wells just by explaining to people, and people bought pieces of wells, all volunteers.

Someone gave at the restaurant, which was just something that I did, and UNICEF made sure that that money was specifically earmarked for wells in Tanzania. So I have that ongoing project. But I haven't been back there.

READERS DIGEST: So if more moneys raised you can do more...

SARANDON: Its quite a big deal logistically. I haven't revisited that because I want to make sure I've sent out notices to everybody to tell them where we are in the project, how many of those wells have gone in and where they are. So I want them to know specifically that it went there. And when all those wells go in, then I'll see, what I'm in the midst of, if we can do another one.

READERS DIGEST: So what else do you still have to do for UNICEF?

SARANDON: Well, I'm going to take another trip. I mean, depending on my schedule, I'll do another outreach, but maybe to Cambodia or Vietnam this time.


SARANDON: I loved going to India. Its a tricky time to be flying to certain parts of the world, and my family is wanting to make sure that I'm safe. Who thought that Vietnam and Cambodia would seem safer than other places? But they do at this point. So I'm not sure what my next job will be for them.

READERS DIGEST: Okay. And then obviously you're doing some pro bono work that seems geared toward young people.

SARANDON: I do a lot of voice-overs. I'm a spokesperson for the Heifer Project, which is fabulous. I've been connected with Habitat for Humanity for a long time. Theyre all groups that are pretty hands-on. And I was one of the founding members of Madre.

READERS DIGEST: You're still involved with Madre?

SARANDON: Oh, God, theres so many. And then theres individual little things; people ask you to have an ongoing relationship. Ive been working with the Center for Constitutional Rights for 27- some years. And they're just great.

READERS DIGEST: Are you still doing 9/11-related stuff?

SARANDON: Well, Tim and I just did a benefit yesterday actually with a really special audience. Every year the AFL-CIO, which I think includes firefighters and rescue workers and everybody, has a benefit for anyone that lost people in a situation related to work, either disease or accident or whatever.

And I had done a play called The Guys for a month, and Tim did it. Its a two-character play. I did it and then Tim did it. I did it with Anthony LaPaglia and Bill Irwin, and Tim did it with Swoozie Kurtz. And then yesterday afternoon we did it at Alice Tully Hall for a huge gathering of firefighters and rescue workers and anybody connected with the 11th. So that was really great.

Its a play by Anne Nelson called The Guys, and it was her experience helping a firefighter write eulogies after the 11th. So it makes it very specific, and its very funny, and the recognition factor is really high. Were going to do a few more performances, just the two of us, at the little theater, the Flea Theater, which is downtown. I still go down to Ground Zero and there are some houses that I'm particularly close with.

This is the time when I think its hardest. Theres a few families that we've become really, really close with, that play hockey with Tim or go to the games with Tim, that have lost their dad for instance, this one family. And I think that as other people go on with their lives, it becomes increasingly difficult, as it sinks in that you've lost somebody...

READERS DIGEST: And everyone else is going back to their sort of normal life.

SARANDON: And the firefighters, its a very difficult time for them. They're still finding bodies and having eulogies. So in that sense, we're still connected.

I did a PSA for the Health Department for people to find free counseling. And I think its an ongoing [process]. Being a New Yorker, its easy to stay involved. When I was coming here, there were guys downstairs from the Lafayette Station, and I talked to them and theyre going to come to the theater. Tim is trying to do the play maybe at his theater in California. So well have an ongoing connection with the fire department.

READERS DIGEST: What about your Catholicism? Youre no longer, or what are you?

SARANDON: Lapsed, I guess you'd say. Im lapsed.

READERS DIGEST: So do you and your family have a formal religion?

SARANDON: No. I don't, I wouldnt say we have a formal religion. They've been baptized because it was nice to have some kind of a welcoming recognition for all of them. I think that we have a spiritual family, and I would have no objection if they could find a church that was somehow connected to the real world and not exclusive. But I find most religions, once they become institutionalized, become exclusive. Certain parts of populations don't extend the same benefits to women as they do to men. And I just dont think any of the guys that started these religions really were in that spot. I think this is historically a mutation that has happened over the years.

So I find it difficult to find a church that is service-oriented and not exclusive of some portion of the populace, whether its gays or other religions.


SARANDON: Theres a lot of entitlement which seems to come in with institutionalizing a religion.

READERS DIGEST: Have you, though, having been raised Catholic and going to Catholic schools so many years, watched this whole priest-pedophilia or molestation crisis unfold with more than just passing interest?

SARANDON: I think again its the entitlement of the hierarchy thats the problem. Theres pedophilia in every section of the populace, I'm sure.


SARANDON: For me, the complex sin are the people that enabled it to continue and who hid it and who didn't deal with it, because they felt entitled as members of the church to do this. Thats the most abhorrent aspect of the whole thing.

READERS DIGEST: Also, the hypocrisy?

SARANDON: Well, the hypocrisy, of course. And even now to try to slough off the responsibility... I know there were a few comments that were made about gays [being the ones to blame]. And thats so evil. So evil. I mean, I'm not surprised. I think the church should divide up some of the bounty that they've acquired through the years and help to distribute it through Latin America and Central America and all these countries where birth control isn't allowed and people have so many children that they cant take care of. They should start selling off some of their assets and taking care of all these mouths that they are insisting people have, and give them decent medical attention and everything else.

This is not to say that there aren't fabulous religious people, like Sister Helen [Prejean, who Sarandon portrayed in Dead Man Walking]. But, almost always, when people work among the poor, they're politicized, and that makes it very difficult for them to be within the church.

READERS DIGEST: Okay. Lets see, what else do I want to ask you? Oh, Tim. How long have you been together now?

SARANDON: Fifty years, was it? [laughter] Well, lets see. Jacks going to be 13, so at least 14 years.

READERS DIGEST: Fourteen years.

SARANDON: I don't know. I'm bad with [time], seems like forever.

READERS DIGEST: Forever is a long time. Whats the secret?

SARANDON: There is no secret. We're still battling it out.


SARANDON: And its not easy. I think that I just found a really great guy. Part of what makes me optimistic is the fact that we can collaborate. I really value that because I respect him so much as a writer and a director and as an actor. So the promise of still being able to be involved with each other when the children are out and dont need us anymore is really strong.

And he has a moral bottom line. We don't agree on a lot of the methods of child-rearing - we disagree very often. But our bottom moral line is the same, and that certainly makes it much, much easier.

But do we have our ups and downs? Absolutely. I think the hardest thing is to decide to be intimate with another person. Its much easier when one person dedicates themselves to the maintenance of the other persons life. A person who can find themself fulfilled by enabling another person to be artistic, for instance. But thats a really lucky combination. But when you have two people that are trying to be artists, and I use that term self-consciously, and who are strong people and questioning people, it becomes much more difficult.

READERS DIGEST: Now, your parents stayed married, right?


READERS DIGEST: Oh, they didnt?

SARANDON: My parents split after many years. I guess they did formally get a divorce but they did split around the time my dad retired.

READERS DIGEST: So by then, all the kids, youre the oldest in line, right?


READERS DIGEST: So all the kids were gone?

SARANDON: No. I had a brother that was going into high school.


SARANDON: ...the strongest motivators for staying in a marriage? First of all, the idea that you might have to date...

READERS DIGEST: I know, yes!

SARANDON: a certain point is just horrifying, at least the tales that I hear from people. That always gives me pause.


SARANDON: Going out into the dating world.


SARANDON: And, of course, the children, and who gets the house.

READERS DIGEST: Uh-huh. But having your parents divorce, do you have a different perspective on the children?

SARANDON: I think it takes a lot of nerve if youre miserable to leave when you have a small child.

READERS DIGEST: Interesting.

SARANDON: I think you're so sure that its doing so much damage and all of this. I think by 2000- something there will be 50 percent, some huge statistic of single parent households headed by women. I mean, that is the trend.


SARANDON: Whether it means people are having children out of wedlock or adopting, [Im not sure], but I think the bulk are women who have either been left or have left, and are raising families on their own. And its very difficult sometimes. If you dont have a profession that pays you a fairly decent salary, its a consideration, because youre not only having a situation where your kids have to try to split between two families, but who can afford to maintain their standard of living with two homes? And you're also thinking about changing schools, changing houses.


SARANDON: Its a very serious consideration. And, of course, you think your kids will never be able to adjust. And finally, in the end, if you're really miserable and the house is filled with misery, of course the kids are probably better off to have two parents who are happier, rather than at each others throats all the time. I'd almost rather see that than to see them raising kids in a house where one parent is constantly humiliating or abusing the other person, and you grow up thinking thats normal or thats love or thats one of those things you just have to tolerate. I'm not so sure that thats not as damaging or more damaging to a child than whatever the hardships are when parents split.


SARANDON: But, of course, divorce is still a pretty scary thing to most people. It has such a stigma of failure attached to it. Its hard.

READERS DIGEST: Youre still not married.


READERS DIGEST: And no plans in the next [laughs]...


READERS DIGEST: ...near future or...

SARANDON: Maybe were saving that for old age.


SARANDON: And a good party, some kind of great surprise party. But no.

READERS DIGEST: So its not a big principle thing anymore?

SARANDON: Well, actually I'm not sure. I havent really gone into that because I'm so busy in my life to really analyze why. But I think that theres still so much of a tendency to treat people once they're married as a couple and not as individuals. Thats probably part of my reason resisting that.

READERS DIGEST: It sounds like the unit there is functioning, the kids are fine.

SARANDON: I think in some way... Well, we certainly would get more of a tax break, wouldnt we?

READERS DIGEST: Right. [laughs] I asked you a little in the beginning, about women in Hollywood, the roles, the pressure to look a certain way or stay young...

SARANDON: Well, thats tough. I'm not going to lie and say it doesnt matter. I mean, if youre aging on a screen thats that big, its harder to make your peace with it. And I've been incredibly lucky to have a career that actually became more interesting as I got older.


SARANDON: I have no idea how Ive managed to do this.


SARANDON: Are there as many leading roles for women as men? No. Are there as many roles for women 40 and up as there should be? No. But are there good roles for men? No. [laughs] Again it goes back to telling stories that people really want to tell. If everyone told stories they were interested in, instead of following the polls, there would be more roles for all kinds of people, including minorities. I mean, Hollywood is like politics. They follow what they think is going to be productive. Its never been their job to think outside the box.

READERS DIGEST: Interesting.

SARANDON: Theyre an industry like any other industry. Thats not what they're about, you know? I think with the advent of digital photography, of digital filming, with video or whatever, that youre not going to make some kind of film that challenges the status quo for 124 million dollars. Thats just not the way it works.

But there is still room always for somebody going outside the system if youre willing to all work for much less money. When people say to me, Youve done political films, I have to laugh, and I always say any and all films are political, because they all are passing on some kind of statement about what women want or what it means to be a man or, whats just funny. If you look at The Nutty Professor, that was an incredibly revolutionary film. You actually were rooting for this guy to stay fat, and not the cliché of what a swinging young hip Eddie Murphy played in that movie. But the only time they call films political are when they challenge the status quo, which means stereotypes of any kind.

But I learned with Dead Man Walking, when I... I mean, that film was so special because it also made a lot of money, but no one expected that to happen. [laughs] But the fallout from that film, the dialogue that that film started because it was truthful, because it gave specifics to a debate that had been waging without specifics, because it had a love story that people in some way were moved by, because it was about redemption, whatever, cut across into mainstream. And Im still seeing the ramifications of that film. So imagine the ramifications of films that reinforce women liking violence or violent sex, for instance.


Readers Digest interview

Page 2

Page 3

Page 5

Page 6