The iconic ending to ‘Thelma & Louise’ almost didn’t happen

Thelma and louise
‘Thelma & Louise.’ JenAndyShow via YouTube

It has gone down as a classic because of that ending.

In an era when female empowerment was hardly addressed, let alone championed in the movies, 1991’s “Thelma & Louise” became a rallying cry for showcasing two women, Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon), who become outlaws after killing a man who assaults and attempts to rape Thelma.

The movie concludes with the two driving their ’66 Thunderbird convertible off a cliff near the Grand Canyon as they flee authorities. The image of the two holding hands as they drive to their death has become an unforgettable movie moment.

But Sarandon revealed to Entertainment Weekly that director Ridley Scott wasn’t completely sold on the ending screenwriter Callie Khouri wrote.

“When I met with Ridley, I said, ‘So really, are you going to… don’t have me do this and then when you test it and everybody gets bummed out, you’re going to reshoot and we’re going to be alive after all,'” Sarandon told EW. “And he said, ‘Well, I can tell you that you will definitely die, but I’m not sure about the other one.'”

Scott meant Davis’ Thelma. “He said, ‘You might push her out of the car or something,'” Sarandon told the magazine.

Thankfully, it didn’t turn out that way. 

According to Davis, the scene was the last of the production and they only had 20 minutes to shoot it.

“It was very emotional for me,” Davis said. “I turned and looked at [Sarandon], I realised the whole experience was over, and I felt really sad.”

Along with the film earning six Oscar nominations and a best screenplay win for Khouri, the ending is still as striking as it was 25 years ago.

Here it is in all its glory:

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