After several years of struggle in Hollywood, Brad Pitt saw his career take off in 1991 thanks to “Thelma and Louise”, where he played the fiery JD A role he owes in large part to Geena Davis, the interpreter of Thelma.
Thelma and Louise : trip for two
After trying his hand at period film (The Duelists), science fiction (Alien, the eighth passenger, Blade Runner), to heroic fantasy (Legend) or to the thriller (black rain), Ridley Scott makes a foray into the road movie in 1991 with Thelma and Louise. A drama in which two best friends decide to escape the monotony of everyday life by hitting the road for a weekend in the countryside.
Their stay changes when they stop in a club and Thelma (Geena Davis) is the victim of a rape. Louise (Susan Sarandon) then kills her attacker with a revolver shot. They both flee to Mexico, while police officer Hal Slocombe (Harvey Keitel) leads the investigation.
Michael Madsen, Christopher McDonald and Stephen Tobolowsky complete the cast of this moving story of friendship with an unforgettable ending, awarded the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Callie Khouri.
The beginnings of Brad Pitt
The film also reveals a future star. After several years of struggle in Hollywoodmarked in particular by appearances in Dallas, 21 Jump Street or What’s up Doc ?Brad Pitt finds his first significant role in Thelma and Louise, thanks in part to Geena Davis. During a conversation organized at the Santa Barbara Film Festival in 2020, the actor recalls, quoted by Collider :
What’s weird is that the role had passed into the hands of a lot of actors, and the shooting had already started when I arrived. I think they were desperate, to tell you the truth. They had already started filming and a week later I was on set, performing.
An anecdote partly confirmed by Geena Davis a few years earlier, during an interview granted to Vanity Fair in 2011 quoted by Tele-Leisure. While Ridley Scott and casting director Lou DiGiaimo can’t agree, the actress recommends that they hire Brad Pitt :
Lou and Ridley were talking about the other suitors: this one gave off a certain brutality, this one had a nice look… But they never mentioned the last one to pass (Brad Pitt, editor’s note)! So I went to talk to them: “Can I say something? Take the blonde!”
In 2020, the interpreter of Thelma assures People which was amazed by the audition of her young partner :
He had the trick. I immediately understood during his audition that he was extremely talented.
During his speech at the 2020 Academy Awards where he received the Best Supporting Actor trophy for Once Upon a Time… in HollywoodBrad Pitt does not fail to express his gratitude to Geena Davis and Ridley Scott for having “given him his first chance”.