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Susan Sarandon: 'Ice Bound'

In the CBS television movie "Ice Bound: A Woman's Survival at the South Pole," Academy Award-winner Susan Sarandon plays Dr. Jerri Nielsen, who, while working at a remote South Pole research station, finds out she has breast cancer.

On The Early Show, Sarandon discuss "Ice Bound" and the complex woman she portrays.

"Ice Bound" is based on the true story of Dr. Nielsen. In May 2000, the doctor discovered a lump in her breast while stationed at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Under dangerous circumstances, and with the help of co-workers, she was able to get her illness treated, and she survived.

As the only doctor at the research station, she had to diagnose herself, and then figure out her medical options. One option Dr. Nielsen couldn't take was flying to the nearest surgeon, because the station was closed for eight and a half months to incoming and outgoing traffic. And at one point, she seriously considered operating on herself.

Sarandon explains Dr. Nielsen's life in the Antarctic started out as an isolated and distant one. She waited three months before telling her colleagues of her predicament. But she learned quickly that everyone at the research station was important and valued.

Her station comrades were complete strangers to the doctor, but they performed selfless acts to help her, even though she tried to push them away in the beginning.

Dr. Nielsen eventually viewed the crew of the station as family.

She really opened herself up to them, in a way many people cannot do with their loved ones, says Sarandon.

The actress says she really wanted "Ice Bound" to be a breast cancer movie, which interconnects the story of courage and selflessness.

"Ice Bound: A Woman's Survival at the South Pole" airs Sunday, April 20, 9 p.m. ET on .

Some Facts About Susan Sarandon

  • Susan Sarandon was born in Queens, N.Y., Oct. 4, 1946
  • Sarandon began her career as a model with the Ford Agency
  • In 1970, Sarandon made her screen debut in "Joe"
  • From 1970 to 1971, Sarandon acted in the ABC daytime soap, "A World Apart"
  • Sarandon made her Broadway debut on "An Evening With Richard Nixon and..." in 1972; the same year, she acted on the daytime soap "Search for Tomorrow"
  • In 1974, Sarandon played the fictionalized heroine in the television dramatization "F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Last of the Belles"
  • In 1975, Sarandon co-starred as Janet in cult hit "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"; she also was a leading lady to Robert Redford in "The Great Waldo Pepper"
  • In 1980, Sarandon earned her first Best Actress Oscar nomination playing a young casino employee who falls for older Burt Lancaster in "Atlantic City"
  • In 1988, Sarandon met her companion, Tim Robbins, while co-starring in hit comedy "Bull Durham"
  • In 1991, Sarandon co-starred with Geena Davis in hit female buddy film, "Thelma & Louise"; she earned a second Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role in the movie
  • In 1992, Sarandon garnered her third Best Actress Academy Award nomination for her role in "Lorenzo's Oil."
  • In 1994, Sarandon picked up a fourth Best Actress Oscar nomination for her turn as a no-nonsense Southern attorney in "The Client"
  • In 1995, the actress finally won her first Oscar as Best Actress for her role in "Dead Man Walking" opposite Sean Penn
  • In 1998, Sarandon was cast as a movie star married to Gene Hackman who calls upon old friend detective Paul Newman for assistance in Robert Benton's "Twilight"; She also co-starred with Ed Harris and Julia Roberts in the comedy-drama "Stepmom"
  • In 1999, Sarandon received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; Acted opposite Stephen Dorff as a woman taken hostage by a bank robber in the HBO movie "Earthly Possesions"; She also starred as a single mother of a teenager in Wayne Wang's "Anywhere But Here"; Sarandon also made a cameo appearance in Tim Robbins' "The Cradle Will Rock"
  • In 2002, Sarandon received an Emmy nomination for guest appearance on "Malcolm In The Middle"; She played the title character's mother in "Igby Goes Down"; Co-starred with Goldie Hawn in "The Banger Sisters"; Co-starred opposite Dustin Hoffman in "Moonlight Mile"
  • In 2003, Sarandon co-starred in "Children Of Dune" for The Sci Fi Channel
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