10 Questions with Susan Sarandon

Apr 21, 2010 at 2:30 p.m. ET

Susan Sarandon is joining a quest millions of Americans have of late. NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? has struck a chord. Sarandon joins Sarah Jessica Parker, Spike Lee and Lisa Kudrow on a journey that takes a celebrity and sends them down the path of mystery and family history discovery.

Sarandon sat down to discuss the urge to delve into ones familial past as well as her secrets to staying young and working with fellow Oscar-winner Al Pacino in the upcoming HBO Dr Kevorkian biopic, You Don't Know Jack.

Susan Sarandon and her son venture into their past

Sarandon is an Academy Award-winning mom and with her recent split from longtime partner Tim Robbins, she felt a tug of history that turned out to be family history. After all, they say in order to know where you are going, you need to know where you have been. You can check out Sarandon's episode on NBC.com!

Susan's family finds

SheKnows: Connecting with our past through genealogy has become a national pastime of late. Do you recommend the experience after appearing on Who Do You Think You Are?

Susan Sarandon: If people are curious, I definitely recommend it.

SheKnows: As soon as you signed up for the show, have friends approached you about how they can achieve the same family discoveries?

Susan Sarandon: I've had people already ask me about doing to do it online and did I know companies they could go to and how expensive was it. So I think there's a huge portion of the population that is curious about family history.

SheKnows: Is it something people become drawn to as they become a parent?

Susan Sarandon: As you get to a certain age, it becomes more and more important to be able to leave some record behind for your kids to have some sense of their history and their place in the world.

SheKnows: You probably found some political context in your journey, how could anyone not?

Susan Sarandon: It's funny (laughs) because we're dealing with so many immigration issues and we forget that we're a nation of immigrants.

SheKnows: Would you say that each Who Do You Think You Are? episode shares a similar thread?

Susan Sarandon on Who Do You Think You Are?

Susan Sarandon: It's really wonderful to reflect on how difficult it was and how brave immigrants were to come here, most of the time without even the language and with very few resources. And certainly I think there are people who would have preferred to stay where their family support system was. Very few of them migrated because they were looking for adventure. Most of them were escaping very, very difficult, bleak times.

Sarandon stories

SheKnows: Did you find any connections to the world's problems today?

Susan Sarandon: We have similar migrations that are happening from South American countries and Eastern European countries where people are coming to either escape political problems or survival. It really is a wonderful way to have an understanding and an appreciation for that process, both in the past and in the present.

SheKnows: Did you discover a real unifying nature to us all in your family discovery?

Susan Sarandon: We're all immigrants here except for Native Americans. Let's start there, but to honor this tradition of looking for a better life in America and the tenacity and imagination and chutzpah and bravery that allowed them to survive long enough to create us. I mean, I think there were very few of us in America who started out incredible wealthy. So it's always interesting to -- and humbling -- to remember our beginnings.

Sarandon knows Jack

Beauty and the beast?

SheKnows: We can't miss all the promos for you in the Al Pacino starring biopic of Dr Jack Kevorkian. What was the Al Pacino experience like?

Susan Sarandon: Oh my God, he was so sweet and so generous and I mean that was definitely one of the reasons I did it. And I was rewarded beyond my expectation. And he's brilliant.

SheKnows: What is your secret to being ageless?

Susan Sarandon is agelessSusan Sarandon: Well I have very good resources of makeup and hair people, so if you see me dolled up they've probably struggled for a good hour and a half. I think it's important not to smoke. I'm certainly not in the shape I was and my face certainly isn't the way it was but I think that I'm -- I recommend especially not smoking in terms of the external ravages of time.

SheKnows: Much of it stems from not smoking?

Susan Sarandon: I think that it's really hard. It helps to have good skin and when you smoke or eat badly it becomes much more difficult. So every time the little absolutely adorable actor comes to me and says, "Oh my God, your skin is so great. What do you do?" I say, "Well, put the cigarette out first of all. You're 23. That's going to really catch up with you eventually."

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