Carrie: That handles your guilt?
Madonna It makes me feel better for a while.
Carrie: I’ve always felt that the nice thing about having a lot of work is that you feel required and essential to the process. Does your work use you up well enough?
Madonna Yeah, I think it does. It has to, because I ultimately end up making my own work. I don’t sit around waiting for other people to give it to me. I’ve had to do this to ensure myself constant employment. I honestly don’t think I could just announce to Hollywood, “Okay, now I want to be an actress,” and then wait for people to give me movies. I also couldn’t be just a recording artist who puts out a record once a year. I have to keep finding things for myself to do.
Carrie: Like producing films? What do you do? Do you option books, or have writers come in and pitch ideas?
Madonna It’s almost never ideas people pitch.
One film I want to do is the Frida Kahlo story, which I got interested in because I love her paintings. I started collecting her artwork, and all of a sudden everybody loved Frida.
Carrie: She’s one of the dead people you admire.
Madonna Absolutely. I’d never call myself Frida, though. Now I hear that there are a million people who are all doing Frida projects, but I don’t give a shit.
Carrie: Wasn’t she supposed to be an unattractive woman?
Madonna I don’t think so.
Carrie: Actually, I have a pin of her that looks like you.
Madonna In self-portrait she kind of over-exaggerated her facial hair. Her eyebrow didn’t actually meet together, but she painted them to meet together. And she had dark hair on her upper lip because she was Latin American. And she overemphasized that in her paintings, which made her masculine and hard looking. In later years she had health problems. She started taking some kind of medication like steroids and her facial hair got really thick. She had almost a beard; she had to shave practically.
Carrie: How do you shave practically?
Madonna You know what I mean. And I’m just starting to develop Martha Graham’s life story.
Carrie: So you’re doing a lot of women.
Madonna I couldn’t do any men.
Carrie: As a producer you could.
Madonna That’s true, but I’m not interested in doing things that I’m not in. Although by the time one of these things comes along, maybe I’ll be too old for it, and then I’ll just direct it.
Carrie: You want to direct?
Madonna Definetly. After I made this documentary and having gone through the step-by-step process of making movies, definetly.
Carrie: I’d like to do it eventually too. At my height, I’d like to boss a group of men around. How tall are you?
Madonna Five four and a half.
Carrie: I’m five one and a half, and it’s incredibly important to me. Except that I stoop, which is attractive. I have one of those dowager’s bumps; it’s from reading when I was a kid. For some reason I don’t bring the book up, I bring my head down, like it’s a feed bag. So I read like a horse.
Madonna Short people try harder.
Carrie: I’m compensating for it. What are you compensating for? Didn’t you think you were attractive?
Madonna When I was little absolutely not.
Carrie: So when did you?
Madonna When did I think I was attractive? When I started hearing it from my ballet teacher at about sixteen.
Carrie: But by then you had solidified the impression that you were not attractive.
Madonna I thought I was a dog from hell.
Carrie: You certainly carry yourself as though –
Madonna I’m a dog from hell?
Carrie: No, quite the opposite. I remember when we were at Ron Silver’s Seder together and I had the impression that you were in a documentary, waving. You looked like you were moving through warm, thick liquid. It was very slow and –
Madonna Maybe it’s because I was drunk.
Carrie: You were drunk? You get drunk in a very, very graceful way, then.
Madonna I was so out of my element there.
Carrie: Who wasn’t? Excuse me!
Madonna Ron was out of his mind.
Carrie: Screaming at his mother.
Madonna I’m not even Jewish. It was all very strange. So if I was moving like I was going through warm liquid, it’s because I felt like I was.
Carrie: That was just my impression. I usually watch people and decide that they’re just a lot more comfortable with how they’re coming off than I am.
Madonna Did I look like I was comfortable?
Carrie: You always look like you’re comfortable. My impression of you is, arm’s length. I’ve always felt that you were abrupt toward me, not impolite but close to it. You’re not an ingratiating personality.
Madonna With you?
Carrie: It’s actually gotten better over time, but you’ve always been like [blas?] “Hi, Carrie.”
Madonna I know. I think you probably intimidated me.
Carrie: If so, then it seemed like you were working at intimidating me or removing me from the scene.
Madonna I do that all the time to people that I’m afraid of.
Carrie: In your documentary, you come across more girllike, whereas I’ve always experienced you as, I don’t know, a commando. I never understood why you felt the need to attack when you’ve certainly won the battle, if not the war, in your mind.
Madonna Well, that’s all part of how I’m going to conquer the world: conquer my loneliness.
Carrie: But the impression I got from the movie was more girlish.
Madonna Yeah, because those are people who I really trusted and I spent a lot of time with, so it was very easy for me to be that way.
Carrie: I saw you with them when I went backstage after I saw your show with Penny Marshall. We stood where the short people stand – sort of in the corner.
Madonna That’s the funny thing about you in my life, Carrie. I see you in a lot of places, and you know a lot of people that I know, but for some reason I always feel like whenever I see you, I see you unexpectedly. In other words, no one ever tells me that you’re coming or they’re bringing you. So I feel if I knew, then I would be ready.