Geena Davis is opening up about some unfair treatment in Hollywood. The Beetlejuice star discusses everything from ageism, to how her life changed after winning an Academy Award. Here’s what she has to say.
Oscar Makes A Difference
In 1989, Davis took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Accidental Tourist. She beat some big names like Michelle Pfeiffer and Frances McDormand for the award, and she says it changed the way directors spoke to her. Davis sits down this week with Allison Kugel on the podcast Alison Interviews where she opened up about this experience and much many more struggles in Hollywood.
Without naming names, Davis says: “I had two directors, after I won the Oscar, who I had a rocky start with because they assumed that I was going to think I was all that and they wanted to make sure I didn’t feel like I was all that.” Davis believes this was sexist: “maybe because I was a woman, that the directors felt that way. And maybe it was even unconscious bias that they would do it to a woman and not a man.” She doesn’t think she would have experienced this if she were a man.
On The Prevelance Of Ageism
She doesn’t mince words when it comes to ageism in Hollywood. “It’s very strange and so prevalent,” Davis says. “A certain male actor that was making a movie said that I was too old to be his romantic interest, and I was 20 years younger than him…the male stars of the movies want to appear to be younger than they are, or they want to appeal to younger people, so they always want a co-star who is really young.”
This means women over 40 “don’t get cast very much… because they are felt to be too old or to be a romantic interest.” Funnily enough, the opposite occurred when Brad Pitt played Davis’ romantic interest in Thelma & Louise.
On Brad Pitt
Pitt was not cast because he was seven years younger, Davis says, “They didn’t purposely try to cast someone younger than me. He just gave the best audition and he was the best choice. But I thought that was pretty cool. He’s only, like, seven years younger than me, but I thought that was quite cool that they did that.”
Funnily enough, tabloids still think the two could start dating any minute. In 2020, New Idea claimed they had a sexy reunion dinner, but that never happened. Davis is a veteran of a sexist system, and it’s always valuable to speak up over mistreatment.