Susan Sarandon talks ‘Tammy’


So can you tell me what it was that drew you to this film and to the character?
SUSAN SARANDON: Well, I have to say, it wasn’t something that I’d always thought of doing. But I thought it was interesting that I was going to be the “grandmother”. Then I got the script and I just thought, “Oh my God, this is so funny and so crazy and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody like this”. I had already played two alcoholic, pill-popping people in a row, so I was up on that. I said, “Well, send me pictures of what you think she might look like, because I don’t understand… is she going to have granny glasses or a funny voice?” So then we exchanged pictures — and she was exactly what I’d hoped — and I just thought, “Well, let’s go for it.”

What preparations did you do for the role? I’m speaking specifically physically because — and I really hope that I don’t offend you when I say this — but the way you put your lipstick on was just like my grandmother.
Oh, great!

Every time! So I’m just curious how you prepared for playing a grandmother.
Well, the clothing and everything, everything that you choose really helped. You can’t put on a pair of baggy, high jeans with elastic and not feel different. Of course, the makeup and then the cankles really helped. I put peppercorns in my shoes when I was supposed to be feeling in pain. Sometimes she’s high, so she’s not in pain all the time. I tried to get a small as possible. Feisty, but small and a little bit humped, which felt much more uncomfortable than it looks actually. Then I just took notes from the script — what she says and what she does. I just saw her as a go-getter. When I had to be drunk, I spin. Because you definitely can’t drink to do that and that usually works — so I spent a lot of time spinning.

You’re working with Ben and Melissa, a husband and wife team, who co-wrote it — he’s directing, she’s starring. What’s it like on set with that? Because sometimes you have to say things that aren’t nice to his wife. It’s scripted, but…
They’ve been working together a long time. They’ve been acting together, they’ve improv-ed together, and they went to school together. He adores her, she adores him, but I don’t think it’s a given that people that are living together have a generous relationship on-set. I’ve heard plenty of stories of married couples that direct that were very ugly. But not with them at all. I think they’d spent so much time writing it that they were of the same aesthetic, they were of the same vision. The style of it is just to play it very realistically and not to comment on it or wink at the audience or make fun of those characters.

Tammy is available on Blu-ray and DVD from 10 November