I find this interview with Susan Sharandon back in 2008 really interesting. The topics she deals with are timeless and very current these days. I am also aware that the clip isn't easy. I would say that advanced students will have to give it their all to keep track of what she says. Anyway, it's worth giving it a try. And let's not set a task for once.
Just watch the video and try to understand as much as possible. If you really find it too hard, read the transcript below in the first place and then watch the video. You may end up by watching the video and reading the transcript at the same time.
We’re here with Susan Sharandon for Time Magazine’s 10 Questions. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us.
Thank you for asking me.
It’s a pleasure to have you. Your recent role in Enchanted was a delight. What’s more fun, playing a good guy or a bad guy?
Oh, that’s so easy to answer. Definitely a bad guy. I mean, just think about it, you know. You, all the mean things that you would love to say, that you’d relish, that you’d never say because you’re trying to be a generous person, you know. Suddenly, you’re, you have licence to be and do. And they’re just more interesting usually.
As an activist who can sometimes be seen as a little bit controversial, how do you find a balance between being confidently assertive and overly aggressive?
You know, first of all the characters that I’ve played eventually seem like strong women, but when you’re in them they’re very conflicted. I’m not interested in playing heroes that burst on to the scene fully formed, knowing what they’re doing. I think it’s a much more complicated process than that, and they’re usually people who are becoming the protagonist in their own life but it’s costing them to get there. The only thing that gives me the courage, because I’m kind of a shy person to do some of the things that I’ve done, is the idea of living with myself afterwards if I haven’t taken an advantage of the situation, or if I haven’t asked a question or if I haven’t questioned something. For instance, the war you know. I just thought I can’t let this go by without asking questions. It’s too big a deal and no one’s asking. I guess I’ve never seen myself as being aggressive as much as clear on trying to understand a situation so that people can make their own decisions.
How do you feel about the possibility that we could have a woman as president?
Lots of countries have women heading their country. It’s a concept that’s, doesn’t seem that foreign to me. For me it’s important which woman. I mean, Margaret Thatcher was a woman and I didn’t support her. And I find it insulting to assume that because you’re a woman that you automatically back any woman, or because you’re a person of colour that you would automatically back anyone of colour. I think it’s a little more complicated than that. But, you know, there’s absolutely no reason why a woman shouldn’t be president in that office. I don’t see it as being such a big deal. I’m not sure about this particular woman, but she wouldn’t be my first choice. But there’s no reason why, you know, a woman or a person of colour or a person of whatever faith, I mean, I think Americans are bigger than that and better than that. That would be the only thing that would determine something for them.
What do you think of the current US foreign policy and how George Bush is trying to throw his weight around in the Middle East?
Well, clearly it’s been a disaster. It’s made us much less safe. It’s made the world much less safe. It’s cost us our moral standing in the world. I’ve spent a lot of time with veterans of this war and I think there’s a huge disconnect between the real war and the politicized war. And I think, I wish that our representatives had more experience of the real war when they’re making their decisions. In my overall feeling about the whole Iraq situation is just …, you know, I’m heart-broken for the people that are over there one, two, three times now. And we continue our lives if it doesn’t…, if we’re not part of that 1% that it immediately touches, it’s so easy to forget about that. And I hope that we start to be more supportive of the returning vets because that’s a huge, huge challenge that that no one’s really dealing with.
When you look back on your career, are you happy with the way it has evolved? Do you enjoy the roles that you play now as much as you did the ones that you played in the beginning of your career?
Yeah, yeah. I’m still having a really good time. I’m kind of turning into Gene Hackman. I’m doing a lot of these supporting, kinda juicy supporting parts now. But I don’t mind, it gives me more time off. It’s also nice not to carry the entire film sometime. I, my ego isn’t bruised by not playing the lead in a film. I’m a little bit lazy, I suffer a little from inertia so, you know, it forces me to make contact with people to learn about different microcosms to, to really look in-depth. It’s kind of like enforced reincarnation and enforced compassion. And the thing that you find out when you’re an actor for a long period of time is that we’re not so different. Everyone’s afraid of the same thing, everyone needs the same thing, and given a set of circumstances, you can find yourself doing things that you never thought, or feeling things that you never thought yourself capable of feeling or doing. So it makes you kind of much less judgmental and more compassionate, you know, and that’s not a bad exercise to go through every time you go to work.