The star of this summer's Cats &
Dogs shares a weekend in the Eternal City.
Seventeen years ago, actress and political activist Susan Sarandon
went to Rome and experienced a miracle. Arriving to film Mussolini
& I, she was already a star from her performances in The Rocky
Horror Picture Show, Pretty Baby, and Atlantic City. Born and
raised in New Jersey, she started life as Susan Abigail Tomalin.
Yet in Rome she was reborn, falling in love not only with the city,
but also a Roman, who fathered her first child. "I just fell in
love with the light and the people and the food," she remembers of
her first visit. "The fact that there's so much history
reassuring that when you have evidence of the past, it somehow
makes you feel there could be a future." She returned to the U.S.
and broke through the Hollywood actresses' normally dreaded age-40
barrier with a series of strong, sexy roles, including The Witches
of Eastwick, Bull Durham, and Thelma & Louise. Then she won the
Best Actress Oscar for her role in Dead Man Walking. This month,
Sarandon's back as the voice of Ivy, a wise dog who provides
guidance to a confused beagle puppy tapped for spy duty in Cats
& Dogs, a family comedy combining live-action puppetry and
computer imagery. Though Sarandon now lives in New York with actor
Tim Robbins, their two sons, and her first child, daughter Eva
Amurri will always remain, at heart, a citizen of Rome. Here's a
weekend with Susan Sarandon in the Eternal City.
"The De La Ville Inter-Continental hotel at the top of the Spanish
Steps. It's smaller, which I love. It's actually where I got
pregnant, which was like a miracle for me. It's one of those hotels
that have little tiny balconies. If you're in the front, you
overlook the whole city, and if you're in the back, you overlook
one of those strange, magi- cal little views of everybody's laundry
hanging out. I stayed in the room where Lennie Bernstein had
stayed. There was this amazing light and the birds were all
singing. It's just idyllic."