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Working together on “Tootsie,” Dustin Hoffman gave Geena Davis wise career advice that she has foll...

Nia Vardalos, Meg Ryan, Geena Davis Talk Sexism in Hollywood

By 17:53:00

Working together on “Tootsie,” Dustin Hoffman gave Geena Davis wise career advice that she has followed ever since.

“One of the things he told me was ‘Work on getting your own material. Read books. Read articles, get the rights,’” says Davis. “So from the very beginning that was in my mind. In fact, I tried to get the rights to ‘The Accidental Tourist’ when I read it and somebody bought the rights a long time ago and I was so bummed because I thought somebody is going to get to play that part.”

Davis, of course, ultimately did get to play that role in Lawrence Kasdan’s 1988 drama, ‘The Accidental Tourist,’ winning the Academy Award for best supporting actress.

But snagging an Oscar didn’t preclude Davis from encountering sexism in Hollywood, a topic up for discussion at Friday’s “In Control of Her Own Destiny” panel held during the second annual Bentonville Film Festival, which Davis co-founded and that aims to increase diversity and gender parity in media.

Meg Ryan, Nia Vardalos and Kimberly Williams-Paisley joined Davis for the spirited event, which took place at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark.

“One day (on the set of ‘Thelma & Louise’) as we’re walking to lunch, Ridley (Scott) says, ‘Hey, Geena, I’m thinking later in the scene today, what if you were to just sit up in the back of the chair in your car and just take your shirt off?’” Davis told the crowd. “And I run over and find Susan (Sarandon) and I tell her there’s a scene this afternoon and Ridley wants me to take my top off and she says, ‘Oh, for heaven’s sake.’ She throws her silverware down and goes over to Ridley and says, ‘Ridley, Geena’s not taking her top off.’ It was like, oh, wait a minute. Women are actually allowed to say what they think and express what they want.”

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