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Madonna Interview : American Film

Madonna: I fall into that trap once in a while, but usually. …I don’t know …I just don’t think it’s going to end! You know, I’ve been having a good time for a long time.

Madonna - American Film / July/August 1987

Question: Do you agree with [film critic] Michael Ventura that in American films, “Sex is the foreplay. violence is the climax”?

Madonna: I think it’s really difficult for Americans to express passion and desire in movies. Something bad always has to happen — violence — or the relationship doesn’t last. I will not be attracted to making violent films. I’m attracted to roles where women are strong, and aren’t victimized. Everything I do has to be some kind of a celebration of life.

Question: If your idea — of women, of life — isn’t marketable, will you forsake it?

Madonna: Oh [smiles], it’ll be marketable!

Question: Your work finds an elegance in street people —

Madonna: I think that’s the ultimate challenge — to have some kind of style and grace, even though you haven’t got money, or standing in society, or formal education. I had a very middle, lower-middle-class sort of upbringing, but I identify with people who’ve had, at some point in their lives, to struggle to survive. It adds another color to your character.

Question: Your mother’s dying when you were six—

Madonna: That period when I knew that my mother wasn’t fulfilling her role — and realizing that I was losing her — has a lot to do with my fuel, so to speak, my fuel for life. It left me with an intense longing to fill a sort of emptiness.

Question: Then you actually were a virgin mother in a way.

Madonna: Taking care of all my brothers and sisters. Yuh. One of the films I’m developing now is about a mother who does everything for the sake of her child.

Question: On the flip side, in the video “Borderline,” you’re longing to play with the boys.

Madonna: True. I had a traditional Catholic upbringing, and I saw the privileges my older brothers had. They got to stay out late, go to concerts, play in the neighborhood. I was left out. Then, when I was dancing, most of the men were homosexuals, so I was left out again. Somewhere deep down inside of me is a frustrated little boy. I’m sure of it!

Question: In your film career, will you resist the vehicle route?

Madonna: I like to switch gears, do a lot of different things. And as much as there’s a funniness about life that I understand. there’s also a sadness about life —

Question: As in outlaw guys?

Madonna: Bukowski and Hopper and Sean and cowboys out in the desert shooting guns — that’s just something I’m fascinated by. But in the films I’m developing, the sadness is the woman’s kind.

Question: Are there any Hollywood classics you thought of when you did Who’s That Girl?

Madonna: Bringing Up Baby. I just love those films where the woman gets away with murder, but her weapon is laughter. And you end up falling in love with her.

Question: It sounds like you’re revising Hollywood’s romantic traditions when most hip performers have taken a parodic stance toward them: Ghost-busters, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid –

Madonna: A comedy like Mr. and Mrs. Smith, with Carob Lombard and Robert Montgomery, I remember forever. It’s really touching. Those other movies — I get a laugh out of them, but they don’t mean anything to me, ultimately.

Question: Not enough heart?

Madonna: Yeah. It’s, like, from the dick.

Question: And the head?

Madonna: Yeah. Which is a bad combination.

Question: And which body parts are you organizing?

Madonna: Heart and soul! [Laughs] With a little dick thrown in every once in a while.

© American Film Magazine