Susan Sarandon Spills the Tea on Cher Stealing Her 'Witches of Eastwick' Role

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday October 22, 2020

Susan Sarandon
Susan Sarandon  (Source:Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

Susan Sarandon told screenwriter Michael Cristofer that her "Witches of Eastwick" co-star Cher took the role Sarandon had already been cast to play - and she cited a "liaison" between Cher and producer Jon Peters, reports Page Six.

Sarandon spilled the tea to Cristofer at an Oct. 17 event in Los Angeles benefiting Project Angel Food, which delivers meals to people living with life-threatening illnesses.

Sarandon told the screenwriter that she had originally been cast for the part of Alexandra, a bold artist, reports the the Daily Mail. Cristofer, who wrote the film based on John Updike's novel, suggested that Cher had "muscled her way into that part," but Sarandon told him, "That's Jon," saying that Peters "and Cher had a past liaison or something, so that was another element."

When Cher ended up playing Alex, Sarandon was switched to the part of Jane, a meek music teacher, which meant that Sarandon would need to play the cello for the film. The switch was all the more surprising since Sarandon, who had been living in Rome, wasn't informed of the change until she got to Los Angeles to start work on the movie, reported The Independent.

"I had never played an instrument in my life," Sarandon told Cristofer. But there was nothing she could do except learning the required new skill: "They said they would sue me if I left, so I didn't have much choice."

The film, directed by George Miller, also starred Michelle Pfeiffer, who rounded out the film's trio of close female friends as Sukie, a single mother overwhelmed with the responsibilities of caring for her children. All three characters blossom when the Devil, played by Jack Nicholson, comes to town, drawn by the women's innate magical powers. Veronica Cartwright also had a part, playing a puritanical woman named Felicia.

The shoot was a stressful one, Sarandon recalled, and so she and the others in the cast banded together in mutual support, with the three lead actresses having lunch with Nicholson on a daily basis.

"There were a lot of reasons why we could not have gotten along, and everybody took a higher road," Sarandon said.

Cristofer, Sarandon, and Cartwright are all featured celebrities at events organized around an Oct. 24 virtual "movie night" benefiting Project Angel Food.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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