9 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Thelma & Louise’

As landmark film turns 25, see how George Clooney lost to Brad Pitt, Geena Davis fought for role, more

Last Updated: May 17, 2016 @ 11:19 PM

It was 25 years ago when Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis sped off in a 1966 Thunderbird and steered their way into the annals of movie history in “Thelma & Louise,” directed by Ridley Scott.

The landmark 1991 film, which celebrates its silver anniversary on Tuesday, May 24, earned just one Academy Award for Best Screenplay, and another five nominations. Though, that’s almost beside the point as film’s cultural impact arguably far overshadowed its awards-season accolades.

About two women on the run after shooting a rapist, the drama blazed new trails for women in film. Yet, this many years later, it represents the struggles women still face — in their lives, in general, and also in the fight to gain equal representation in Hollywood, which is  an issue that Davis herself has long been passionate about.

One of the notable highlights of “Thelma & Louise” is Brad Pitt‘s breakout role as a womanizing thief. There are a lot of surpriseing behind-the-scenes details about his memorable part, along with more facts about movie that you probably didn’t know:

1. It Was Down to George Clooney and Brad Pitt.
Clooney auditioned for the role of J.D. multiple times before it went to a relatively unknown actor named Brad Pitt. For years, Clooney couldn’t bring himself to watch the film, joking in 2011 that he was still “upset” about it: “When I saw it, I thought actually that was the right choice… [Brad] was really good in it, and I would have f—ed it up somehow.”

2. But the Role First Went to Billy Baldwin. 
Baldwin dropped out of “Thelma & Louise” to take a part in “Backdraft,” leaving room for Pitt to eventually get cast.

3. Scott Sprayed Shirtless Pitt With Evian.
“He did a lot with a very tiny role,” recalled Sarandon in a 2014 interview. “His attitude, his swagger, his inventiveness — everything was much more than just a pretty face and a great body.”

But that body was fretted over by director Ridley Scott during Pitt’s love scene with Geena Davis — much more so than the actress herself. “Ridley’s also very much into the look of things,” said Davis in another 2014 interview. “He was personally spraying the Evian on Brad’s stomach for the shots where you see his abs and I’m like, ‘Hello!'”

4. There Was a Real-Life Re-Coupling.
Thelma’s rude and dimwitted husband Darryl was played by Christopher McDonald — Davis’ real-life ex. The actor, once engaged to Davis, called the experience “really cathartic” in a 1992 interview.

5. Other A-List Actresses Auditioned
Performers up for the roles of either Thelma or Louise have been reported to include: Holly Hunter, Jodie Foster, Goldie Hawn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Frances McDormand and even Meryl Streep.

6. Davis Originally Wanted to Play Louise, not Thelma.

7. She Gunned for the Part.
“I had my agent call Ridley every week for almost a year,” Davis said in 2011. Once she landed a meeting, she recalled, “We had an hour’s worth of notes on why I should play Louise.”

8. That Famous Ending Isn’t What You Think.
“To me the end of the movie was never meant to be a literal,” said writer Callie Khouri, who won an Oscar for the screenplay. “It was a way of saying that this was a world in which they didn’t believe there was the possibility of justice for them… I never saw it as a suicide.”

9. Davis “Earned the Right to Die.”
It was decided before filming that Louise (Sarandon) would definitely die at the end of the movie. But Thelma’s fate wasn’t as clear. “You may push her out of the car at the last minute,'” Sarandon remembered Scott telling her. “But I earned the right to die!” Davis added in the same 2014 interview.