Susan Sarandon isn’t known as a “period piece” actress, but she’s nonetheless done a number of frock flicks — or at least, films with historical settings. Let’s run them down!
Allie Calhoun in F. Scott Fitzgerald and ‘the Last of the Belles’ (1974)
A fictionalized TV movie about the author’s experience meeting his future wife, Zelda, in 1919 Alabama.
Younger Deborah Franklin in The Lives of Benjamin Franklin (1974)
A TV miniseries that filmed four plays about Benjamin Franklin, who was involved with Deborah on and off — she eventually became his common-law wife.
Peggy Grant in The Front Page (1974)
A black comedy about a newspaper, set in the 1920s or 30s.
Mary Pepper in The Great Waldo Pepper (1975)
“After WW1, an ex-pilot takes up barn-storming and chance-meets a former German ace fighter pilot with whom he co-stars in Hollywood war movies depicting aerial dog-fights,” per IMDB.
Catherine Douglas in The Other Side of Midnight (1977)
An adaptation of a super shlocky novel set after World War II, in which “A Greek tycoon’s mistress tries to track down and find her ex-World War II lover,” per IMDB. I feel like I read this when I was a preteen?
Hattie in Pretty Baby (1978)
A preteen (Brooke Shields) is a prostitute in 1917 New Orleans. I’d kind of like to watch this for the visuals, but then I don’t love the idea of supporting a film that caused Shields a lot of trauma.
Livilla in A.D. (1985)
A TV miniseries about the disciplines of Jesus Christ after his death, as well as events in Rome during the same period.
Edda Mussolini Ciano in Mussolini and I (1985)
A TV movie about the Italian fascist leader; Sarandon plays his daughter.
Col. Margaret Ann Jessup in Women of Valor (1986)
A TV movie about US army nurses captured by Japanese forces in the Philippines.
Mrs. March in Little Women (1994)
Sarandon gives the best Marmee performance in any adaptation, hands down.
Celimene in Illuminata (1998)
A turn-of-the-century Italian theater troop drama. Sarandon plays the diva.
Margherita Sarfatti in Cradle Will Rock (1999)
A group of left-wing activists put on a play in 1930s Depression America. I remember this was great, but nothing more specific!
Alice Neel in Joe Gould’s Secret (2000)
“Around 1940, The New Yorker staff writer Joe Mitchell meets Joe Gould, a Greenwich Village character, who is writing a voluminous Oral History of the World, a record of twenty thousand conversations he’s overheard,” per IMDB.
Doris Duke in Bernard and Doris (2006)
Based on the real-life experiences of heiress Doris Duke and her relationship with her gay butler, to whom she left her fortune.
Florence Aadland in The Last of Robin Hood (2013)
The final days of actor Errol Flynn. Aadland was an actress who had a relationship with Flynn.
Gladys Mortenson in The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe (2015)
Sarandon plays Marilyn Monroe’s mentally ill mother in this two-part TV miniseries biopic, which I just recently watched. It’s good, and Sarandon’s performance is sad!
Bette Davis in Feud (2017)
Sarandon was justifiably nominated for a Golden Globe and Emmy for her standout performance as Bette Davis, feuding and filming with Joan Crawford.
What’s your favorite Susan Sarandon historical role?