Even after all these years in the spotlight, Susan Sarandon is still full of surprises. A few years ago she managed to make ping pong cool again by launching a hipster-friendly string of lounges called Spin. Now she's co-starring in a new movie called Snitch with ...The Rock?

The Rock is great at what he does, he's just not the kind of leading man I usually associate Sarandon with. She's shared the screen with legendary actors like Tommy Lee Jones, Jack Nicholson, Kevin Costner, Sean Penn and Richard Gere, to name just a handful.

Sarandon doesn't seem to follow any particular formula when she chooses her projects, which is part of what makes her so cool (and has probably helped her enjoy such a long career in fickle Hollywood). She appears to just go for whatever she wants, without worrying about any pre-calculated "image" or "career strategy."

It's resulted in what must have been some pretty fun projects to work on in recent years. She's done everything from video game voiceovers to SNL digital shorts to quirky indie movies like Jeff, Who Lives At Home by the Duplass brothers. She even did a charming cameo as herself on Louis C.K.'s show, Louie. It was a great scene -- she was a guest on his talk show screen test, and he fawns over her endearingly.

Of course, she isn't doing exclusively "fun" gigs. She's thrown in some serious projects here and there, such as the Wall Street thriller Arbitrage and the film adaptation of The Lovely Bones. And she's still got her foot in the advocacy arena: she narrated the documentary short La Mama: An American Nun's Life in a Mexican Prison, among other things.

With Snitch hitting theaters this week, it seemed like a good time to compile a list of the most surprising places I've spotted Sarandon over the last several years. I can't wait to see what else she's got up her sleeve.

1. Motherlover. Who'd have thought that The Lonely Island could score two critically acclaimed actresses (Sarandon and Patricia Clarkson) to star in their follow-up to their deliciously ridiculous short, Dick in a Box? Clarkson plays Justin Timberlake's lonely divorcee mama, while Sarandon is Andy Samberg's hot 'n' bothered widowed mom. Sarandon and Clarkson are so hilarious, I think they just might be two of the best cameos The Lonely Island has ever scored.

2. Dishonored. If you thought the voice of Granny Rags sounded familiar, it's because it's Sarandon. How awesome is it that an Oscar-winning actress lent her voice to a video game character?

3. 30 Rock. I love how Sarandon isn't afraid to play up her cougar status. On 30 Rock, she had one of the show's best guest roles as Frank (Judah Friedlander)'s sexy teacher who did hard time in the slammer after their affair was discovered.

4. That's My Boy. Once again, Sarandon is the sexy teacher who does time for her love. This time around, it's a family affair: Sarandon's daughter Eva Amurri plays the young version of Ms. McGarricle, the teacher who seduces the 13-year-old Adam Samberg.

5. Jeff, Who Lives at Home. Sarandon would have certainly taken a huge pay cut to appear in this quirky, low-budget flick about a directionless 30-year-old man (Jason Segel) who still lives in his mother's basement. Sarandon plays his sad, lonely mother who doesn't know what to do with him.

Snitch opens in theaters on Friday, February 22.

categories Movies