Accessibility links

Oscar Winners Hawn, Sarandon Team Up in New Comedy, <i>The Banger Sisters</i> - 2002-09-13

"People do change, Suzette. Not that it's been easy; It hasn't been, but I could not be the person that I was because the person that I was was not the person that I am."

Once upon a time, when they were in their twenties, Suzette and Vinnie were the best of friends . . . not only to each other, but also to rock music stars. They were "groupies;" local legend said Frank Zappa gave them their nickname: The Banger Sisters.

"Do you see that bathroom? Jim Morrison passed out in there one night.... with me. I'm a legend around here. I'm Suzette."

"Jim Morrison is a ghost and so are you. You're fired!"

Suzette never left the rock scene but when she's fired from her bartending job at a Sunset Boulevard nightclub, she goes in search of her old backstage companion.

After all these years, Vinnie is now a wealthy socialite, married with two teenager daughters and no one in her new life knows about the Banger Sisters . . . until Suzette shows up.

Susan Sarandon plays Lavinia, who connects with her long-forgotten enthusiasm for life.

"For me, it's not about focusing on the specifics of the craziness of that period as opposed to the straightness and productivity of the present," she explains. " I think [my character] is living my whole life in the future, trying to live for the result of what's going to happen to my kids or whatever. Goldie is living in the past; and neither of us is in the present. Neither of us truly embrace who we are. The question is, really, can you have freedom and responsibility simultaneously? Is it possible to have a family and be free? Is it possible to have no ties and not feel free?"

"Let me tell you something about your mother. It wouldn't kill you to be just a little nicer to her."

Goldie Hawn plays Suzette, who has a lot in common with the backstage character Hawn's daughter, Kate Hudson, played a couple of years ago in the movie Almost Famous.

"Yes, I think Suzette would have known 'Penny Lane' and Kate really helped me through this," she says. "She gave me a lot of tips. We talked about my wardrobe and hair and other ideas. She was great."

There's a lot of mother-daughter bonding going on here. Eva Amurri, Susan Sarandon's daughter in real life is cast as one of Lavinia's teens.

"It was great because when you're younger and see what your parents do, you admire them so much when you are there at their workplace watching what they do," she says. " It was great to actually do it. It kind of felt like 'I'm doing this" I love this! It's great!' It's always nice to have your mom where you are and when she's actually in a scene with you, it's even better."

Hawn says her character helps Lavinia loosen up but the encounter also brings Suzette in touch with a more mature reality.

"I think she was giving love a chance," she explains. "It's hard for anybody to love her. She wouldn't let anybody love her and [it's hard] to love herself. So she's starting on the road to recovery. That's sort of the way I looked at it."

Yet another Oscar winner, Geoffrey Rush, plays Harry, an uptight writer whose encounter with the freewheeling Suzette brings unexpected joy into his life. The Banger Sisters is the debut film for writer/director Bob Dolman and it features a soundtrack packed with nostalgic 70's-era hits.