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Vixen of Pong

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When she leaves, I approach to ask what that was about. “Me and him have a big rivalry,” he says glumly, shrugging toward another player nearby, the champion at a rival college. “So when I lose, it sucks.” What advice did Sarandon give him? “Uh, to train more. And have more confidence.”

I ask him what role she plays in the club. “She’s the owner,” he says, confused. Yes, I ask, but among the four owners—which one is she?

He pauses for a split second.

“The mom,” he replies.

A few weeks later, I watch as Sarandon and Bricklin film a “sizzle reel” for The Magnus Effect. When a makeup artist leans down to check her toes, Sarandon explains about the surgery. “So please don’t be—”

“Too rough?” says the cosmetician.

“No, horrified!” says Sarandon.

During her downtime, she tries on ball gowns. “It has rolls where I have rolls,” she says with an amused sashay. Her foot is healing, but she’s still in pain—this time, it’s her back. But she’s been busy. She and Bricklin flew to Italy for a documentary festival. She’s begun filming a pilot for HBO called The Miraculous Years, playing a Broadway choreographer. She’s spoken up against child trafficking. She’s planning to attend an Arcade Fire concert that night.

She also hands me a copy of another TV project, an episode of Lisa Kudrow’s genealogy series, Who Do You Think You Are? In it, Sarandon hunts down her grandmother, the other black sheep of her family—a woman who got pregnant at 13, then disappeared, leaving Sarandon’s mother to be raised in a Catholic charitable home.

“Of course, nobody blamed him,” Sarandon says, “they just blamed her.” Sarandon steeled herself for a sad outcome, but found instead that her grandmother had simply started over. She was a showgirl at the Copa; she dated Frank Sinatra. She married a younger man. Until her death, she lived an hour from where Sarandon grew up—lying about her age and telling no one she’d had children. In a pencil sketch, she’s the image of her famous granddaughter, all saucer eyes and nightclub charisma.

I ask Sarandon if she was upset to hear she’d died. “No, I felt fabulous! She could’ve been a drug addict, an alcoholic—or a horrible person, to have two kids and give them up. I mean, what a survivor. And apparently, she gave great parties.”

Two weeks later, at the Emmys, Sarandon is arm in arm with Eva. In sunglasses and a glam glittery black gown, she kills on the red carpet. At the after-party, paparazzi snap her boogeying with Claire Danes. On her feet, as she’d hoped, are satin Valentino heels, with a bow.


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