Ask 10 people what word comes to mind when they think of Susan Sarandon, and you'll get 10 different answers: fearless, political, talented, formidable, nurturing, smart, down-to-earth. Sexy? Always. It's her contradictions that make her such a powerful presence on screen.
She's played the ingénue opposite sweet transvestites in the cult classic "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." She's been the object of Catherine Deneuve's lesbian lust in the '80s vampire flick "The Hunger." She was the no-nonsense half of a duo of women road warriors in "Thelma and Louise." She's even been a nun, though a tough and tenacious one, in "Dead Man Walking."
In her latest film, HBO's "Bernard and Doris," she's plays Doris Duke, the late megamillionaire philanthropist who forms an unlikely relationship with her gay butler, Bernard Lafferty, played by Ralph Fiennes. Gay fans are going to love Sarandon in this role: She's glam and gritty, and she may just nab an Emmy along the way. But it's her work off screen that elevates her to saint status in the LGBT world. A longtime advocate for gay marriage and other LGBT issues, Sarandon brings the same dedication to her personal causes as she does to her movie roles.
Given all that, where does one begin an interview? I only had 15 minutes -- and with "Bernard and Doris" coming up, Sarandon was obviously focused on her new film. But the ever-gracious actress granted me just enough extra time to squeeze in questions about "The Hunger," seeing "Rocky Horror" with her kids, her sexual relationships with gay men in the 70's and 80's and even a quick round of "Who would you rather sleep with?"