Susan Sarandon: "It's so liberating to play bad guys"

"It's so liberating to play bad guys," said Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon, known for her versatile performances over her five-decade career in movies like "Thelma and Louise," "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and "The Client." She won an Oscar for her performance in "Dead Man Walking."

Sarandon guest stars in the newest season of "Ray Donovan" on Showtime, a division of CBS.

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The Oscar-winning actress plays a steely Hollywood studio executive on the Showtime series "Ray Donovan."

Showtime

"It's so liberating to not have the burden of sincerity," she said of her character, powerful studio executive Sam Winslow, who hires Hollywood fixer Donovan (Liev Schreiber) after being blackmailed. "And I get to wear jumpsuits all the time. I decided I'm starting a jumpsuit nation!

"I was doing it to have fun. I know Liev, I think he's brilliant. He's an actor that thinks of the whole, not just his part. He thinks as a director, and he does more with fewer words than anybody I've ever worked with in my life, and so I thought it would be just fun."

In terms of taking on the role, Sarandon said, "I think they don't really know in the beginning exactly what they're going to do with you. They told me what my job was, I did research of course on women and how they got there and everything, but it's not really about that.

"There are a lot of women that are now heading studios, but thank God they're not like her!"

To watch a trailer for season five of "Ray Donovan" click on the video player below.

RAY DONOVAN Season 5 TRAILER (2017) Showtime Series by Series Trailer MP on YouTube

She said both Winslow and Donovan are outsiders: "I think they both share shame in their lives. She's a loner for reasons I can't go into, doesn't have really a family. And so I think it's more about the relationship than her job. I can't say what's going to happen, but it's full of twists and turns. We do a lot of attituding in the beginning towards each other. You don't quite know where it's going, but then I actually start to … "

"You seem to be hinting that it's sexual," said co-host Norah O'Donnell.

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Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon.

CBS News

"I'm not," Sarandon replied. "I never have sex on the first season! Maybe the second season. He's busy with so many other people. But I think I'm going to grab him somewhere deeper than just his genitals.

"We don't really know. This is what's different than going into a film: You really know where you're ending [in a movie]. We kind of know what's going to happen."

Sarandon, who does not own a television, said she discovered "Ray Donovan" while flying on airplanes. "I loved the way it was filmed," she said. "It's so twisted. All the actors are so good. They really have assembled a group of strong actors."

She also remarked on the changing environment of television: "I hadn't watched TV in a long time, and I saw something that just blew my mind," she said. "Certainly for women there seems to be so many better roles. There always have been soap operas where women were in command of the world. But I think that there are more shows with these kinds of platforms [that] don't have to appeal to this massive demographic that your old-time shows had to, so they can be a little riskier. You saw how many times I'm bleeped just in this tiny little [clip]. I think that's changed. Also, people can watch things that they save up and binge on watching them all together. You have more control."

"Ray Donovan" is broadcast on Showtime Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.