Pop Culture

'Thelma & Louise' turns 25! Here are 5 surprising facts about the '90s classic

You're an avowed "Thelma & Louise" fan. You get together with friends at least once a year, pound down a few tequila shots and whoop along as Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis go on the adventure of their lives, getting grittier, tougher and more wonderful with every passing mile.

But do you know every twist and turn of the story behind the making of the now-classic movie, which was released on May 24, 1991 — 25 years ago? We thought not! So strap on your cowboy hats and bandannas and shift into gear to find out more than you ever thought you'd know about our heroines, their movie and one seriously awesome set of abs.

1. The movie inspired at least two songs

Singer-songwriter Tori Amos saw the movie and was inspired to write "Me and a Gun," about her own rape six years prior (and which she had not spoken of before seeing the movie). She reportedly began crying in the movie theater while watching the movie and wrote the song lyrics in her head. Additionally, Argentine singer Fito Paez wrote "Dos Días en la Vida" ("Two Days in One Lifetime") after seeing the film; his lyrics tell Thelma and Louise's story and the song was a hit in 1992.

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We totally get why Thelma (Geena Davis) fell for J.D. (Brad Pitt).

2. Brad Pitt wasn't the only person considered to play J.D.

The super-handsome no-goodnik thief with the excellent abs turned out to be Pitt's breakout role, but also up for the part was Billy Baldwin, who left the running to sign on with "Backdraft." Meanwhile, Pitt's future BFF George Clooney auditioned five times for the part. "When I saw it, I thought actually that was the right choice," Clooney told The Hollywood Reporter in 2011. "He was really good in it, and I would have f---ed it up somehow." Also, Pitt earned a measly $6,000 for essentially stealing the film.

3. Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis weren't first choices for the lead roles

The list of other possible stars included Jodie Foster, Michelle Pfeiffer, Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn and Holly Hunter. But Davis really wanted in, and called director Ridley Scott every week for a year so she could play ... Louise? But then Davis met Sarandon and knew the role definitely should be Susan's.

4. Things almost ended very differently

Spoiler alert: The ending in which both women drive off the edge of the Grand Canyon almost didn't happen; director Scott wanted to have Louise push Thelma out of the car before the big plunge. But the movie stayed true to screenwriter Callie Khouri's original intention. "I think by then we had earned that ending," Sarandon told Entertainment Weekly in 2011.

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Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon) head for the final roundup.

5. That ending might have been more metaphorical than literal

Khouri defended the ending in the Atlantic that year, noting, "To me, the ending was symbolic, not literal ... We did everything possible to make sure you didn't see a literal death. ... You were left with the image of them flying. They flew away, out of this world and into the mass unconscious. Women who are completely free from all the shackles that restrain them have no place in this world."

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Soaring, never landing.

Here's an alternate ending to the film:

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