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Ridley Scott explains why he almost didn't direct Thelma & Louise

Thank Michelle Pfeiffer for changing his mind

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Watch the full interview with Ridley Scott interview here on the new People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to PEOPLE.com/PEN, or download the PEN app on Apple TV, Roku Players, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, Chromecast, iOS, and Android devices.

Ridley Scott tends to like having a strong female protagonist in his films — just look at the Alien franchise. So when he first read Callie Khouri’s script for Thelma & Louise — featuring two friends (Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon) who hit the road looking for a bit of adventure but end up being fugitives on the run instead — he was aghast at some of the behavior she described.

“Women’s equality has never been a question for me — women are my equal, and some of them are smarter than me,” he says. “I still didn’t fully understand the grotesque nature the male can be to the female. Grotesque not just physically but attitudinally. I read the script and would ask Callie — who knew every inch and consonant — does this really happen?” 

Still, he wasn’t convinced he should be be the one to direct. But after four different people turned it down, one actress he spoke with during the audition process managed to change his mind. “Michelle Pfeiffer said, ‘Why don’t you come to your senses and direct this yourself?’

Watch the video above for more from Scott on Thelma & Louise.