Madonna: Mm-hmm. The thing I had planned doing right after Shanghai Surprise was Blind Date, over at Tri-Star. I was supposed to have approval of the leading man and the director, and they didn’t tell me they’d already hired Bruce Willis. That … just didn’t work out. But I was really excited about doing a real physical, screwball comedy, so when Jamie brought up this, it was like my reward.
Question: There was no punishment for Shanghai?
Madonna: No. Mark Canton and Allyn Stewart have a little more insight than that! All the Warners executives were real positive about the project. It was a process—with the writers — of honing the script, making it better.
Question: What did you wear when you met with the Warners executives?
Madonna: A navy blue suit.
Madonna: Yeah. But it was Comme des Garcons, so it was [smiles] a bit off.
Question: Is there a big difference for you, as a performer, between rock video and film?
Madonna: It’s not that different, but the public’s perception of it is different. To them, the roles they’ve seen me do in videos are me. To me, they’re characters that part of me is in. After I did Desperately Seeking Susan, people went, “Oh, she’s really playing herself,” and I thought: That means I have to play an opposite character to convince everyone. Which is a trap.
Question: Is that how you got Shanghaied?
Madonna: Well, sort of. Sort of. But I actually liked the script. Then we got there and the director [Jim Goddard] just had no knowledge of what he was doing, and it was downhill from the second day. But it was as different as I could get from Desperately Seeking Susan, and a truly-miserable-experience-I-learned-a-lot-from-and-I-don’t-regret!
Question: Did it make you more cautious?
Madonna: Oh. yeah! Definitely! It’s deadly when you second-guess public opinion. Your best bet is to stay true to yourself.
Question: You seem to have great confidence in Foley—
Madonna: Jamie Foley is a genius.
Question: Do you consult Sean on creative decisions?
Madonna: My husband’s is a fairly respected opinion with me!
Question: Does anyone have veto power over your career decisions?
Madonna: No way!
Question: You’ve been turning down roles, like Evita, where you’d sing on screen …
Madonna: I had several meetings with Robert Stigwood, and in China I read tons of literature on Evita, but Stigwood really insisted on doing an operetta kind of thing, and the only way that doing Evita would be interesting to me is as a drama, so it didn’t work. I’d love to do a movie someday where I sing, but it’s hard to make a transition if I do movies about singers.
Question: Have you put sex scenes on hold, too?
Madonna: I loved the script of (Mary Lambert’s] Siesta, but I couldn’t deal with all the nudity in it. I’m at a stage in my career where any kind of nudity would be an incredible distraction within a given movie. As far as other movies go, it’s very hit-and-miss when nudity works. For instance, I loved Betty Blue and felt the nudity was very natural and important to the telling of the story. On the other hand, I was disturbed by the nudity in Blue Velvet and felt it was done for the sake of shocking the audience.
Question: Woody Allen, asked if he thought sex was dirty, said. “Only when it’s good.” Do you think sex is dirty?
Madonna: Only when you don’t take a bath.
Question: But romantic happiness makes so many people anxious. They start to anticipate its end —