Oprah: We only had Barbie to contend with. Didn't you choose to play in Thelma & Louise because you liked the strong female characters?
Geena: Susan Sarandon and I thought it was this little movie about two women—but it turns out it struck a nerve. Women would come up to me and say, "That movie changed my life. My friend and I call each other Thelma and Louise now." It was eye—opening for me to realize the visceral impact a movie can have on people. There are so few images that make women come out of a theater feeling powerful. Men have that "yes!" feeling from a lot of movies. They also get it from watching sports. Part of our self—esteem comes from how we see ourselves reflected in the culture. And if you're marginalized or stereotyped, you think I'm not...
Oprah: Important. Don't you think it's interesting that we're so marginalized only one generation after the women's movement?
Geena: Absolutely. We were sold on the idea that it's negative and unattractive to want women's rights. We were also told we were done.
Oprah: One reason I don't watch much television is that most dramas feature a plotline in which a woman is being abused, raped, murdered, chased, violated. I don't like bringing that into my psyche or having that as the standard for what happens. But I know people watch shows like that all the time without recognizing how women are being dominated. How sad it is! That's why I thought it was interesting when I read people saying Thelma & Louise was anti—male when you can't watch a movie that's not anti—female.
Geena: Exactly. We kept saying, "There's a whole range of male characters," but finally the writer, Callie Khouri, said, "You know what? So what?"
Oprah: I like that. Let's talk about you starting to have babies at 46. How the heck did you do that?
Geena: It was pretty great. I'm thrilled.
Oprah: My friend Gayle jokes about putting pictures of you and Demi Moore on her wall—she says, "They're my heroes because they're with younger men. I believe, I believe, I believe!" Was marrying a man 15 years younger than you are a deliberate thing?
Geena: It absolutely wasn't. Reza and I just hit it off.
Oprah: Is it ever an issue now?
Geena: It doesn't enter our consciousness. I mean, we joke about it. But it rarely comes up.
Oprah: When you've been married four times, people start to raise their eyebrows.
Geena: I said to him, "How stupid are you? You're going to become someone's fourth husband." [Laughs.]
We Hear You!