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Abel Ferrara Interview : Film Threat

Madonna - Film Threat Magazine / April 1993

The film’s integrity aside, perhaps Edel should be more concerned about the glut of Madonna product on the market. Does he think she really enjoys all the hoopla? “Sometimes I ask myself that,” he says. “But what I admire about her is that whatever she does, she does very passionately. Her self-confidence is enormous. She knows that millions of young people identify with her.”

Fischoff, who recently polled a group of adolescent girls from a variety of backgrounds on Madonna’s appeal, begs to differ. “Preteens are more interested in nonthreatening sexuality. Madonna is anything but: She’s in-your-face sexual. I’m wondering if she’s becoming more of a freak show. She’s like the current-day equivalent so Tiny Tim.”

Is she on the cusp of a backlash? “It’s already begun,” says Fischoff, who sees a distinct parallel between Madonna and Marilyn Monroe. “She’s a kamikaze. When you learn to identify with your persona, and the public identifies with that, it’s very difficult to be human. She’s been assaulted by every institution imaginable. And basically what she does is reflect it back and say, ‘You’re all persecuting me. It’s all your fault and nothing I’m doing is wrong.’ So you have this buildup of defensiveness and paranoia – and isolation. Somewhere along the line, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a suicide gesture.”

With regard to Madonna’s growth as an artist, Edel’s predictions are less dire, but still cautious: He stops short of declaring that Body of Evidence will make her a major film presence. “Whatever the critics think about this movie,” he says, “people will have to talk about Madonna also as an actress.”

“I’m still waiting for the film that will make me a big screen star,” laughs Mantegna, who has also completed the dramas Family Prayers, due out this winter, and Searching for Bobby Fischer, set for a spring release. “Beneath all the bullsh*t, Madonna is very put-to-gether and very smart. She’s not a flash in the pan. There’s been a million Madonna wannabes who’ve come and gone, and will continue to. But even if somebody hates her, you’d have to step back and say, ‘Yeah, but at least she’s been around for me to hate,’ you know what I mean?”

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