Susan Sarandon had to pay her own way from her home in Italy back to Hollywood to audition for baseball drama Bull Durham after a handful of her peers turned the role of Annie Savoy down.

The Oscar winner was a new mum living with Italian director Franco Amurri when she learned that first-time director Ron Shelton and Kevin Costner were looking for their leading lady and she aggressively fought for the part.

She recalls, "Everybody that they wanted wouldn't read... Ron, who was a first-time director, felt really strongly that he wanted all the women to read with Kevin (Costner), and all of the people who were at the top of the list refused.

"I was living in Italy in a little house at the beach... with a very small child and I got the script kind of haphazardly and I read it and it was such a good script.

"They said that they would read me (have her audition), but I had to pay my own way over and I had a long trip to talk my ego out of the way and then I got kind of dolled up... I read the entire movie with Kevin and then I worked my way to the airport by kind of stopping at the studio and kinda lap-dancing a little bit, whoever I had to see at that point."

The audition and the schmoozing went well but Sarandon returned to Italy unsure if she'd done enough to land the role: "I got back and we didn't have a phone and two days later the neighbour came knocking and said, 'You have to call.'"

The actress is glad she fought for the role because the film was one of her favourite movie experiences.

She adds, "I was so racist about jocks (sports fans); I thought, 'This is gonna be a nightmare to be in a movie with so much testosterone...' But they were so sweet. I made barbecue chicken every weekend for everybody."