LOS ANGELES: Oscar winner Geena Davis, whose acting with Brad Pitt in road trip movie Thelma & Louise launched his career, has enjoyed Hollywood hits with The Fly, Beetlejuice, A League Of Their Own and kids’ film Stuart Little.

Geena, 57, , is back on the big screen soon in In A World.  Here she tells Garth Pearce what she wishes she had known at 18.

I WISH I could have known back when I was 18 that the best years of my life would be in middle age.

Yet I always seemed in such a hurry. I started announcing I was going to be a movie star at three, apparently. I don’t know what I based that on because all we saw were Disney movies.

No one in my family acted, either. My father, Bill, worked as an engineer - as did my older brother, Dan - and my mother, Lucille, was a teacher’s aide.

My film knowledge started to grow at 18 and so did my ambition. I had a plan.

After finishing school, I thought: “How do I get into movies?” The very thing which I had hated at 18 - my height (she is 6ft tall) - became useful.

I noticed that models such as Christie Brinkley and Lauren Hutton got jobs in films, so thought I could model and go in that way.

It was a crazy scheme because it was so badly thought-out.  I pretended to be a mannequin in store windows. If I stayed completely still, then people would just walk past. But if I moved slightly, like a robot, they would stare.

I could hear them on the other side of the glass wondering if I was real or not.

I had shiny, plastic-looking make-up and a wig. I would even tie a little thread around my wrist, which made my hand look as if it was stuck on, and cord on my leg as if I was plugged in.

The only thing it led to was working for the lingerie company Victoria’s Secret - modelling underwear.

I was not successful - there were no jets to Jamaica, lines of cocaine and fancy parties - and it was just hard work. I would waitress in my spare time.

I can’t say there was much enjoyment, in the sense I was thinking my twenties were passing me by.

Then, out of nowhere, came incredible luck. I was modelling a bra and panties when I was spotted by the film director Sydney Pollack.

He wanted me to play a character in the film Tootsie, opposite Dustin Hoffman.

I couldn’t believe I had a film part. I had never been on a movie set and kept wondering if they had made a horrible mistake. I soon found out why my co-star Dustin had become such a star.

He’s a perfectionist and wanted to know everybody and everything. He even knew the name of the caterer’s mother.

Suddenly, things started happening. For The Accidental Tourist (released in 1988) I won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

Then came Thelma & Louise (released in 1991) and doing screen tests with unknown actors to play my lover.

I met with five, including Brad Pitt. He was so charismatic he stood out. It was a great scene -  and everyone seems to remember it.TS