In 1988 he won an Oscar. In 1991, Thelma & Louise made her a feminist icon. In 1995, his career seemed over. Few starships as fleeting as that of Geena Davis, the actress who could have it all but, after a series of bad decisions, fell into oblivion.
What happened to his career was unfortunate and was linked to the prevailing machismo in Hollywood, as well as his love life. It may be unfair to blame director Renny Harlin (her third husband) for wasting her career in record time, but the truth is that Davis had the world in love before they got married in 1993.
Mistakes and bad choices were predicting what would be the artistic collapse of a star. Without a doubt, one of his biggest box office flops was The pirate (1995), which she filmed with her husband and which was a turning point in her journey. And while it was hard at first, over time she knew how to reinvent herself and transform her “forgotten” days into something much more productive: she became a feminist activist and to this day works hard to achieve a more equitable industry.
After modeling for brands like Victoria’s Secret and having a brilliant academic career (which she had for a time living in Sweden), director Sidney Pollack gave her her first role in Tootsie with Dustin Hoffman. “I came up with the idea of modeling because famous models were offered to work in movies. I thought that if I could be famous enough as a model, they were going to realize that I could act too, ”Davis revealed.
It was not until the end of the eighties when its true boom in cinema arrived. Filming the comedy in Yugoslavia Transylvania 6-5000 Not only did she gain popularity but a second husband, actor Jeff Goldblum.
Next to him rolled The fly Y There is a Martian in my life, and they were one of the coolest couples in New York. As her love grew, her career grew, working with Tim Burton on Beetlejuice it’s Lawrence Kasdan’s A stumbling block called love, which gave him the Oscar in 1988.
Popularity would come with her unforgettable role in Thelma and Louise in 1991. From this road movie, the actress became a feminist icon and the image of both friends (Susan Sarandon was Louise) intertwining their hands in the last scene is, still today, one of the most remembered in history of the cinema. “The goal of the film was for women to assume their own destiny. The spectators stopped me on the street to tell me how it had impacted them (…) It changed my life radically, ”he told The Guardian.
The pirate It was also a change: its box office failure ended up sinking its production company and Davis’ career. His cache within the industry quickly devalued and he made a drastic decision: to retire. She experienced another great blow when she discovered that her husband was cheating on her with her friend and personal assistant.
This is how he took refuge in sport: in 1999 he became aOne of the semifinalists for the United States Olympic Archery Team.
Her vindication was obtained only in 2005 when she played the president of the United States in Commander in Chief, a series for which he won a Golden Globe. Undoubtedly, this role and those of Stuart Little Y Grey’s Anatomy allowed him to recover within the industry.
In all this time, his feminist activism —Which arose with Thelma & Louise– never disappeared. She always tried to find for herself characters that escaped certain stereotypes (A very special team O The long kiss of goodbye for example). “I wish that Thelma & Louise it would have had a stronger effect. I have not seen many more films about women, or starring women, and even less exploring the complicated feelings that women usually have, “he once said.
But in 2004, while watching television with her daughter, Davis noticed an imbalance between male and female characters in children’s productions. That is why she promoted a research project on gender at the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.
In 2007 he decided to create the Instituto Geena Davis to increase the presence of female characters in entertainment and sports. “I am completely obsessed with numbers and data,” she declared. “My theory is that we don’t have enough real role models of women in important positions and occupations to drive change, and therefore we need to have them in fiction for life to imitate art.”
“I believed that the reaction of the press to Thelma y Louise it was going to change everything and that now there were going to be many more main female characters in the cinema. I was very excited and indeed about the next movie A very special teamThe press announced the same thing, that there were going to be many sports movies, but it didn’t happen, ”he said.
A promoter of the Bentonville Film Festival (with a focus on diversity and inclusion) and an activist in promoting women’s sports, Davis’s struggle was not in vain. For his work he received an honorary doctorate from Bates College and in 2019, the Film Academy recognized his work with an honorary Oscar.