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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 September 2005, 17:30 GMT 18:30 UK
Sarandon learned from 'failures'
By Victoria Lindrea
BBC News entertainment reporter in Venice

Susan Sarandon
Sarandon stars opposite Orlando Bloom in Elizabethtown
Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon believes she achieved success and fame "because all my other plans failed".

"Everything I thought I was supposed to do went wrong. So for me, catastrophes are where you really stand to learn the most," said the 58-year-old actress, who is promoting her new film Elizabethtown at the Venice Film Festival.

The film, about a failed shoe salesman who comes to realise life's true value when he attends the memorial of his late father, is directed by Cameron Crowe and stars Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst.

"I wanted to make a comment on the obsession with success and failure - that we see so often in America," said Crowe, 48.

"In America, people's lives are made up by the question: 'how successful am I?'

"At the beginning of the movie Orlando's character, Drew, is defined by that. But then life comes along and trumps that issue by saying, here is a real tragedy - here is a matter of life and death, and it's bigger than your failure."

"Death makes you so much more aware of the living," adds Sarandon, who also stars in the forthcoming John Turturro musical Romance and Cigarettes, which is appearing in competition in Venice.

"When I had kids, suddenly mortality became a really big issue. That's when I woke up."

"We so easily fall into a trap - especially if you're privileged and fortunate enough to have a roof over your head, water and a loving family."

"I'm not sleeping in a coffin or anything, but I am definitely trying to stay aware of death every day of my life."

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