Thelma & Louise Movie Poster

Trivia for Thelma & Louise

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  • It took producers so long to find someone for the role of Louise that Geena Davis had to sign a contract stating that the producers could cast her in either role if need be.
  • Callie Khouri hoped to cast Holly Hunter and Frances McDormand as the leads.
  • Ridley Scott was reportedly so amazed with Hans Zimmer's score that he created a main title sequence (with Zimmer's music over it), rather than giving the main credits at the end, as it was primarily planned.
  • The sequence where Darryl slips and falls over on the builder's supplies as he is leaving for work was unscripted, as Christopher McDonald genuinely lost his footing. Despite this, he remained in character, yelling at the workmen as he got into the car and drove away. As he states on the DVD commentary, director Ridley Scott liked the result so much, he kept it in the film.
  • For the more raunchy sex scenes between Brad Pitt and Geena Davis, Ridley Scott had assumed that a body double would be needed for Geena. Shortly after he'd begun auditioning prospective doubles, Davis learned of Scott's intentions, and insisted that no doubles were needed in those steamy scenes, though B-movie legend Julie Strain said in an interview that she did double for Davis.
  • The scene where Louise grabs Thelma's headphones off her and scares her wasn't planned. In the DVD's audio commentary, Geena Davis commented that she was supposed to get up when Susan Sarandon called her from the car, but she had the volume on her Walkman up too high, and didn't hear her cue, so Susan came over to get her.
  • At one point, Richard Donner was actively interested in directing.
  • George Clooney auditioned five times for Ridley Scott for the part of J.D. Clooney would later play a polite bank robber in Out of Sight (1998).
  • Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis were both nominated for Best Actress, but lost to Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Ridley Scott was nominated for Best Director, but lost to Jonathan Demme, also for The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Callie Khouri won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, while Ted Tally won Best Adapted Screenplay, once again for The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Ridley Scott went on to direct the sequel Hannibal (2001), while Harvey Keitel would appear in the prequel, Red Dragon (2002).
  • Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise, Scott Baio, Christopher Atkins, Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, and Alec Baldwin were all considered for the role of J.D.
  • Debra Winger, Rene Russo, Kelly McGillis, Kim Basinger, Catherine O'Hara, and Diane Keaton were all considered to play Louise.
  • Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep wanted to make a movie together, and this movie was one of the scripts they considered. Ultimately, they decided to appear in Death Becomes Her (1992) instead.
  • Seeing the film inspired Tori Amos to write the song "Me and a Gun" about an assault she experienced at the age of twenty-one.
  • Michael Madsen and Christopher McDonald were initially in talks to play the part of Harlan, the rapist.
  • Twenty-four police cars and three helicopters were utilized for the film's climax.
  • Average Shot Length = ~6.3 seconds. Median Shot Length = ~6.1 seconds.
  • Rosanna Arquette, Ellen Barkin, Phoebe Cates, Glenn Close, Joan Cusack, Christine Ebersole, Farrah Fawcett, Carrie Fisher, Bridget Fonda, Mary Gross, Daryl Hannah, Barbara Hershey, Anjelica Huston, Kay Lenz, Jessica Lange, Kelly LeBrock, Madonna, Andie MacDowell, Liza Minnelli, Jane Seymour, Cybill Shepherd, Emma Thompson, Meg Tilly, Tracey Ullman, Debra Winger, and Sigourney Weaver were all considered for the role of Thelma.
  • More than forty people were considered to direct the movie.
  • Cher, Kelly McGillis, and Kathleen Turner were offered the role of Thelma, but turned it down.
  • Catherine Keener was cast in the role of Investigator Hal Slocumb's wife. Her one and only scene was cut from the final film. This deleted scene can be found on the Special Edition DVD released in 2003.
  • Callie Khouri's original plan for the film was to direct it herself, on a very low budget, and with a documentary feel to it.
  • A total of five identical 1966 Thunderbird convertibles were used throughout the shoot: one "star car", one camera car, one back-up car, and two stunt cars.
  • Thelma's date of birth according to the police broadcast is November 27, 1956. Screenwriter Callie Khouri was born on November 27, 1957.
  • Ridley Scott watched Badlands (1973) for inspiration for the look of the film.
  • With the light starting to fail, and a public holiday looming, Ridley Scott had roughly forty-five minutes to get the final scene just right.
  • In an interesting twist of fate, Brad Pitt lost out on the role of Brian McCaffrey in Backdraft (1991) to William Baldwin, who then had to be released from his contract to play the small part of J. D. in Thelma & Louise (1991) that was re-cast with Brad Pitt.
  • Kris Kristofferson was offered the part of Jimmy, but he turned it down, and it eventually went to Michael Madsen.
  • Beau Bridges was considered for the part of Hal (the cop), that went to Harvey Keitel.
  • Christian Slater was almost cast as J.D., before Brad Pitt got the role.
  • According to a 2011 Vanity Fair article, it was Michelle Pfeiffer's idea that Ridley Scott direct the film, instead of simply executive producing it.
  • According to the DVD commentary, Susan Sarandon explained that when Louise gets out of the car to throw up, egg whites were used for the vomit, and she added that they are also used for love scenes in movies.
  • Nicole Kidman auditioned for the role of Thelma.
  • Callie Khouri wrote her early drafts longhand at home, and then periodically transcribed the pages on a Kaypro computer in her workplace at night.
  • Michelle Pfeiffer and Jodie Foster were originally chosen for the leads and accepted the roles, but preproduction took too long, and had to drop out due to other commitments.
  • According to a magazine interview, screenwriter Callie Khouri based the character of Thelma on her friend, country singer Pam Tillis.
  • Christopher McDonald, Harvey Keitel, and Susan Sarandon appeared in different Adam Sandler films: McDonald in Happy Gilmore (1996), Keitel in Little Nicky (2000), and Sarandon in That's My Boy (2012).
  • The trailer presented the film as a comedy.
  • Brad Pitt had previously lost the role of a character named J.D. in the movie Heathers (1989) to Christian Slater. He got his revenge when he stole the role from Slater for this movie.
  • Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, and Brad Pitt would go on to work with Quentin Tarantino in various projects. Pitt worked with Tarantino in Inglourious Basterds (2009) and Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019), and appeared in True Romance (1993), which was written by Tarantino. Keitel worked with Tarantino in Pulp Fiction (1994) and From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). Madsen worked with Tarantino in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004), and The Hateful Eight (2015). Keitel and Madsen were both in Reservoir Dogs (1992).
  • Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
  • The film cast includes three Oscar winners (Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis and Brad Pitt) and one nominee (Harvey Keitel) .
  • This is one of only four films to receive two Academy Award nominations for Best Actress. In this instance, Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon were so nominated. The other three films were All About Eve (1950) for which Anne Baxter and Bette Davis were nominated, Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) for which Katharine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor were nominated, Terms of Endearment (1983) for which Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger were nominated. Of the actresses in question, MacLaine is the only one to win the Academy Award for Best Actress for the relevant performance.
  • The revolver that Thelma and Louise use is a Colt Detective Special Nickel 3rd Generation.
  • Brad Pitt also appeared in True Romance (1993), directed by Ridley Scott's brother, Tony. Hans Zimmer composed the music for both films.
  • (Cameo) Charlie Sexton: Singer and guitarist fronting the band in the Silver Bullet bar.
  • When Geena Davis happened to be seated next to George Clooney on a flight over 20 years after the movie's release, during the course of idle conversation George mentioned that he'd read with her for the part of J.D. but she, regretfully, had to admit that she had no recollection of his audition.
  • Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
  • Initially committed to produce, Ridley Scott did not think he should direct. Among the directors he sounded out for the project were his brother, Tony Scott, Joe Pytka, Jeremiah S. Chechik, Chris Menges, Kevin Reynolds, Jonathan Kaplan, Phillip Noyce, Harry Hook, and Bob Rafelson. Richard Donner was keen to shoot the film - he called the script "historic" - but wanted his wife, Lauren Shuler Donner to produce, but Scott was not enthusiastic about that.
  • While she was writing the screenplay, Callie Khouri fantasized about casting Holly Hunter as Thelma and Frances McDormand as Louise.
  • Before Brad Pitt was cast, the role went to William Baldwin but he ended up dropping out. George Clooney was rejected multiple times. Mark Ruffalo auditioned. Eventually, the role went to Robert Downey Jr. but Ridley deemed him too short compared to Geena. Geena was the one who picked Brad to do the part.
  • This is the fifth - and, as of 2020, the most recent - film to receive two Best Actress Oscar nominations, with both Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis being nominated. They lost to Jodie Foster for her role in The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
  • Was Oscar nominated for Best Actress for both Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, Best Director (Ridley Scott) and won Best Original Screenplay, but was not nominated for Best Picture.
  • Won Best Original Screenplay in the same year that The Silence of the Lambs (1991) swept the major awards at the Oscars (including Best Adapted Screenplay), making it the only other film to win a major award that year.
  • Marco St. John is mentioned with the top billed cast at the beginning of the movie, but he's uncredited on the cast list at the ending credits.
  • Near the beginning when Thelma is in the kitchen asking Darryl if he wants anything special for dinner, the game show Jackpot (1989) is showing on the television. That episode was the debut episode of the syndicated version, first airing on September 18, 1989.
  • The address where Jimmy tells Louis to pick up the Western Union money in Oklahoma City is 1921 N.E. 23rd. There actually was a hotel called the Vagabond in OKC. It is now an Auto Zone.
  • In one of the scenes at Darryl's home, he and the police are watching a TV broadcast of Only Angels Have Wings (1939) in which a male voice is heard to say "Judy." This is the film in which the lead character, Geoff Carter (Cary Grant), was famously misquoted to have said "Judy, Judy, Judy." Grant was pestered for years about the veracity of this quote.
  • In 2016, "Thelma & Louise" was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant".
  • Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis were both up for an Oscar for this film as was Laura Dern for Rambling Rose. Three years later, Sarandon would play Marmee (the mother) in Little Women, a role that Dern would play 25 years later. Davis has even more connections to Dern. Rambling Rose was produced by Davis's future ex-husband, Renny Harlin, who was romantically involved with Dern. That film's director, Martha Coolidge, directed Davis in the film Angie. Dern also appeared in Jurassic Park with Davis's other ex-husband, Jeff Goldblum. The two of them also had a relationship for several years. The film also used the services of Coolidge's ex-husband, Michael Backes, who set up the computer displays.
  • Harvey Keitel and Michael Madsen would later co-star in Reservoir Dogs (1992).
  • The film was originally supposed to star Meryl Streep and Cher. Streep turned the offer down in favor of taking lighter, more comedic roles, while Cher turned it down in order to focus more on her music career.

Spoilers

  • The studio was very resistant to the downbeat ending, and were very keen to find an alternative. As they were unable to come up with a better conclusion, they eventually conceded.
  • Ridley Scott filmed a longer ending (found on the Special Edition DVD) in which the car is seen plunging into the canyon, with a melancholy B.B. King song playing in the background. He opted for the more upbeat ending with the car frozen in descent and Hans Zimmer's score playing.
  • In the documentary The Celluloid Closet (1995), Susan Sarandon said that she added the kiss between Louise and Thelma at the end of the movie. Sarandon said that she told co-star Geena Davis (but no one else) that she was going to kiss her.
  • In the scene where the tanker truck is shot and blown up, the reactions of Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis were supposed to be genuine. Rather than filming separate reaction shots, Ridley Scott rigged the tanker to blow up during the take, in order to get authentic expressions of surprise from the two leads. Despite this, they were so astonished while watching it, that they forgot to actually react, so Scott had to film their reactions again.
  • Ridley Scott is very receptive to ideas from cast and crew members on his films, and used many suggestions from Susan Sarandon during production. Some ideas of Sarandon's that made the final cut of the film: the visual of Louise packing her shoes in plastic bags while prepping for the lady's weekend getaway in the mountains; the scene where Louise exchanges her jewelry for the old man's hat; and the scene where Louise stops the car in the desert at night and takes a personal moment looking at the stars, while Thelma sleeps in the car. That last scene idea took half the night to light. Sarandon and her longtime partner Tim Robbins re-worked most of the dialogue in the sequence between Louise and her boyfriend Jimmy at the hotel in Oklahoma City. Originally that scene called for Louise and Jimmy to make love and conduct an impromptu mock wedding ceremony. Sarandon felt that having sex would be the last thing Louise would be interested in doing at that point in the story, and told Scott that if she performed the sequence as written, that they would have to include a scene where Louise would wig out as a result, and prior to signing on to do the film, Scott gave Sarandon his word that he would not change the ending of the movie. She had just experienced that on her last movie, White Palace (1990), with the original, ambiguous ending being scrapped, in favor of a more upbeat one, and did not want this movie to meet a similar fate.
  • At one point during production, Ridley Scott considered changing the ending to having Thelma survive after being pushed out of the car by Louise right before she drives off the cliff.
  • Jason Beghe improvised his scene where the State Trooper starts crying when Thelma is holding a gun on him, deciding it would make his character more memorable instead of unemotionally complying with the demands of Thelma and Louise.
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