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Rosanna Arquette talks ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’

The movie was really groundbreaking even though it’s a comedy — it’s entirely about women, written and directed by women, starring women, produced by women. Did it feel like it was breaking ground in that way at the time?
I’ve been talking about that recently, that Desperately Seeking Susan was totally groundbreaking. And Barbara Boyle brought it in — it was her film. It felt that way then, too. It was cool. I don’t think we understood the impact, but it did feel good. Hollywood wasn’t evolved enough to understand it and get it. Now, it really means something.

I know the script took a long time to get off the ground. At what point did you get involved?
I think I was one of the first people they reached out to. But there were a lot of Susans [thrown around]. They wanted Ellen Barkin at one point; she would’ve been fantastic. I would’ve loved that. Melanie Griffith. Some great actresses that were up for the Susan part. I didn’t audition; it was just an offer. I was with my friend Kenny Ortega, who’s a famous choreographer, and he asked me,”Look, I have a woman who wrote this script, and she’d love you to do it.”

Rosanna Arquette Answers All of Our Questions About Desperately Seeking Susan

Had Madonna been cast by then?
I was cast first. And then they told me about this pop star that was just blowing up while [the casting] was happening. Suddenly it was like, “Who’s this beautiful girl singing this pop song?” I remember watching her in the “Lucky Star” video and just going, “Oh my god.” It was electric. Everybody at that time fell in love with her. Including me. I remember her cool outfit — I’d just got one too, and I wasn’t wearing it, but the Agnes B. pencil skirt. Her whole look, with the black rubber bracelets — she just had this whole vibe. She was very much like, [affects Madonna voice], “Hi stranger.” Exactly like it was at the end of the movie.

Vulture: Rosanna Arquette Answers All of Our Questions About Desperately Seeking Susan