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Susan Sarandon talks politics, films with Melbourne audience

Actress Susan Sarandon arrives at Crown for the Breaking Barriers charity event for the La Dolce Vita festival on Sunday afternoon. Photo: Darrian Traynor Susan Sarandon, an outspoken supporter of Democrat Bernie Sanders, has said in several recent interviews that Hillary Clinton is more dangerous than Donald Trump as US president. Photo: Andrew Harnik
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Sarandon said she doesn’t like reality shows that pit women against each other such as The Real Housewives of Melbourne. Photo: Kristian Taylor Wood

Susan Sarandon. Photo: Darrian Traynor

It’s hard to know what was more delicious: hearing Susan Sarandon repeat her oft-quoted phrase that “I don’t vote with my vagina” or listening to her giving advice to a “Real Housewife” about female relationships.

The 69-year-old actress, who is in Australia as a guest of the La Dolce Italia festival, on Sunday treated about 150 lunch guests to anecdotes about her film career and political activism.

Sarandon, an outspoken supporter of Democrat Bernie Sanders, said she wasn’t afraid to take unpopular stands on issues.

“The thing that really gets me is when I haven’t said something honestly. When there is something that people who don’t have a voice … and someone tells me about it, and I have the opportunity to shine a light on it, when I don’t, I feel that I have betrayed my authenticity,” she told the compere, Crown’s Ann Peacock.

“I don’t pretend to be an expert in anything but I am sometimes privy to information.”

Since Mr Sanders lost the Democratic presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton, Sarandon has continued to be outspoken against Mrs Clinton.

She told the audience, as she has said previously, that she won’t vote for Mrs Clinton just because of her gender.

“I go by issues; I don’t vote with my vagina,” she said.

She said she would support compulsory voting and called for campaign reform in the US.

Sarandon said Mrs Clinton was “doing all the things you’re afraid [Donald Trump] will do”.

Moving off politics, Sarandon said it was important that women supported one another.

“That’s why I hate those reality shows, the wives of wherever, because they thrive on provoking fights,” she said.

Unbeknown to the megastar, Pettifleur Berenger, star of The Real Housewives of Melbourne, was among the guests.

Turning to Berenger, Sarandon said: “Why can’t you be like the Ghandi of reality shows?”.

Berenger responded that it was all about creating drama to chase ratings.

Sarandon replied: “I find that very concerning because it isn’t as dramatic to get along.”

The Oscar winner, who was running more than 90 minutes late for the lunch, also had other subjects.

On Thelma and Louise, she said: “In terms of it becoming iconic, we didn’t see it coming … I didn’t want to make a film that was driven by revenge.”

On roles for older women in Hollywood: “It was traditionally supposed to wane at 40 … but there’s a lot of gals now who have persisted and the business is changing.”

On women: “It really angers me when the press comes to me to criticise another woman in the business because, God knows, we have a hard enough time without turning on each other.”

Sarandon is appearing on Sunday night at the Regent Theatre. It will be her only other appearance during her Australian trip. The events also raised money for Bully Zero Foundation.

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