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‘Thelma & Louise’ Screenwriter Dishes on Sex, Guns and Writer’s Block

Photo: Courtesy Photos, License: N/A

Courtesy Photos

Louise (Susan Sarandon, left) and Thelma (Geena Davis).

Photo: , License: N/A

Callie Khouri

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“Oh, yeah … The age-old question,” said Khouri about the mostly unimaginative ways guns and sex are used in every other movie. “I think guns and sex are the two areas where people are least likely to apply intelligence. Both things seem to come out of a place far less intellectual than you would hope.

People seem to be at the mercy of those things, instead of in control of [them]. I wish guns only existed in fiction. It is disheartening to see things play off so senselessly [in movies], but sadly no more senselessly as they do in real life. It’s so sad when you see the mayhem that happens in this country because of guns.”

For Something to Talk About, her second screenplay, she set out a challenge for herself: to write a movie without guns in it. But her reasons went beyond her personal opinion on guns—she was rebelling against screenwriters’ laziness.

“[After Thelma & Louise,] I knew why people put guns in movies—because you can easily turn the action instantly,” Khouri said. “You can take a character in or out, you can turn a hero into a villain. It’s such a convenient dramatic device.”

But Khouri opted for writing what she believed in, and followed with Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002) and Mad Money (2008), both of which she also directed. Since 2012, she has been the creator, producer and occasional director/writer of the Golden Globe- and Emmy-nominated Nashville, which airs on ABC. She didn’t win another Oscar, but she got something even better—being able to make a living writing about things she cares about.

“Nothing better than that,” she said. “To me, that’s the greatest gift a person can receive: to be able to work on what they love.”

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