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25 Years of 'Thelma and Louise'
It’s been 25 years since Thelma and Louise first embarked on a road trip in a 1966 Thunderbird. The 1991 film, starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, was considered a feminist landmark and won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, also picking up nominations for its director Ridley Scott and both Sarandon and Davis. After a quarter-century of Thelma and Louise, check out where the cast is now.
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Susan Sarandon as Louise
Sarandon was 20 years into a busy career when she played Louise, and her 1991 Best Actress nomination was her second in that category. In the four years that followed, she would get three more nods for Best Actress, finally winning the award for 1995’s Dead Man Walking. Her many film roles since Thelma and Louise include The Client, Little Women, Stepmom, Enchanted, and The Lovely Bones. She has also accumulated a multitude of TV credits and been nominated for four Emmys, including for guest roles on Friends and Malcolm in the Middle. She will appear next in the anthology series Feud, in which she will play Bette Davis. Sarandon is also a noted liberal activist, having lent her voice to various social issues and publicly supported progressive politicians.
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Geena Davis as Thelma
Davis’ star was rising fast when she played Thelma, and she had already won an Oscar (Best Supporting Actress for 1988’s The Accidental Tourist) when she and Sarandon both picked up nominations for Thelma and Louise. Davis went on to star in a string of films in the ‘90s and 2000s, including A League of Their Own and all three Stuart Little films. From 2005–2006, she starred in the political drama Commander in Chief, for which she won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Emmy. She will appear next in a TV series based on The Exorcist and a feature film, Marjorie Prime.
Davis has also emerged as a vocal advocate for gender equality in the film industry, and has said that the reaction that Thelma and Louise received inspired her to fight for better — and more — representations of women onscreen. In 2007, she founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which promotes diverse projects and supports research about equality in the industry. In 2015, Davis launched the Bentonville Film Festival, which curates a program of diverse and female-driven films.
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Brad Pitt as J.D.
Thelma and Louise is a film of many gifts, among them its refreshing feminist leanings, its now-iconic finale, and, of course, Brad Pitt. Pitt’s appearance in the film — as a handsome thief who sleeps with Thelma, teaches her how to hold up a convenience store, and then steals all of her money — launched him to stardom, and he has appeared in a multitude of films, from indies to blockbusters, in the two-and-a-half decades since. His ‘90s credits include Interview with the Vampire, Seven, 12 Monkeys, and Fight Club; the 2000s brought Ocean’s Eleven (and its two sequels), Troy, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Inglourious Basterds; and in the 2010s, he’s starred in Moneyball, World War Z, and Fury — all among numerous others.
In recent years, Pitt has become a powerful producer with his company, Plan B Entertainment, through which he has produced such significant films as The Big Short, Selma, and Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave.
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Michael Madsen as Jimmy
Since playing Louise’s boyfriend Jimmy, Madsen has amassed over 150 film credits (many of them in independent films), including roles in Donnie Brasco, Species, Die Another Day, Sin City, and Free Willy, and he has done voice acting for video games as well. He has appeared in four Quentin Tarantino movies, including 1992’s Reservoir Dogs and last year’s The Hateful Eight. Madsen is also an accomplished poet, and has published six collections of his writing. He currently has various independent projects in the works.
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Harvey Keitel as Hal
Keitel, who first became known to audiences for his roles in the Martin Scorsese films Mean Streets and Taxi Driver in the ‘70s, played Detective Hal Slocumb in Thelma and Louise. Since then he has been a busy actor, with such credits to his name as Bugsy (which earned him nominations for both an Oscar and a Golden Globe), Reservoir Dogs, The Piano, Pulp Fiction, From Dusk till Dawn, and last year’s Youth. His next two films, Lies We Tell and The Comedian, are currently in post-production.
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Christopher McDonald as Darryl
Since McDonald played Darryl, Thelma’s controlling husband, in Thelma and Louise, he has had an active career in both film and television. Some of his most notable roles since 1991 include playing Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore, Jack Barry in Quiz Show, Ward Cleaver in the 1997 movie version of Leave It to Beaver, and Tappy Timmons in Requiem for a Dream. He has made appearances on numerous TV shows and had recurring roles on Boardwalk Empire and The Good Wife, among other series. He will appear next in the thriller Jekyll Island.
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Timothy Carhart as Harlan
Carhart played the small but crucial role of Harlan, Thelma’s rapist whom Louise shoots and kills. Before Thelma and Louise, he appeared in various films over the course of the ‘80s, including Witness and Desperately Seeking Susan, as well as some TV roles. Since 1991, his film credits include Black Sheep and Beverly Hills Cop III. He has been more active in television, where he has had recurring roles on 24 and CSI and appeared in episodes of The X-Files, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Law and Order, The Twilight Zone, and Frasier, among others.
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Jason Beghe as the State Trooper
Beghe played the state trooper who makes the mistake of pulling Thelma and Louise over for speeding. The character actor has appeared in a handful of films, including G.I. Jane and X-Men: First Class, but has focused largely on television. He stars in Chicago P.D. as Hank Voight (and has appeared as the character on various other Chicago Fire spinoffs); has had recurring roles on shows including Californication, Melrose Place, and Everwood; and has appeared on Castle, Numb3rs, and Veronica Mars, among other series. A former Scientologist, Beghe made a YouTube video in 2008 publicly condemning the church, and has since emerged as one of the religion’s most outspoken critics. He appeared in Alex Gibney’s celebrated Scientology documentary Going Clear last year.
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Stephen Tobolowsky as Max
Tobolowsky had a small part as Max, a member of Detective Slocumb’s team tracking down Thelma and Louise. He had a handful of film roles before Thelma and Louise, and has since racked up over 200 film and TV credits as a wildly prolific character actor. His long resume includes roles in the films Basic Instinct, Groundhog Day, Memento, Freddy Got Fingered, Freaky Friday, Garfield, Wild Hogs, and The Time Traveler’s Wife. In television, he has had recurring roles on Glee, Heroes, Californication, and The Goldbergs, among others, and has made appearances on single episodes of a vast array of series.
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Marco St. John as the Trucker
St. John played the truck driver who harasses Thelma and Louise over the course of their trip — and pays for it in the end. He had worked in a steady stream of projects in the ‘80s when he appeared in Thelma and Louise, and has been busy in the industry ever since. His film credits include Monster, The Punisher, and Mr. 3000, and he has appeared on the TV shows Treme, Walker, Texas Ranger, and Suit Up, among others. He has a handful of projects in the works at the moment, including the films Indiscretion and Artists Die Best in Black.