How Madonna's casting in A League of Their Own caused its leading star to quit
18 August 2021, 14:55
When Madonna agreed to appear in A League of Their Own, it resulted in Debra Winger leaving the project.
Debra has explained that after Madonna got cast in A League of Their Own she decided to quit the movie altogether.
Originally, Debra was cast in the role of Dottie, but when she left Geena Davis ended up playing the role in the 1992 sports movie.
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Speaking to The Telegraph, Debra revealed that in preparation for the role, she spent three months training with the Chicago Cubs baseball team.
Debra said that she quit the movie when she heard about Madonna’s casting - explaining that she felt that A League of Their Own director Penny Marshall was making “an Elvis film”.
“The studio agreed with me because it was the only time I ever collected a pay-or-play on my contract. In other words, I collected my pay even though I did not play, and that’s very hard to get in a court,” Debra explained.
“As entertaining as [the finished film] was, you don’t walk away going, ‘Wow, those women did that.’ You kind of go, ‘Is that true?’”
Debra said that she doesn’t “begrudge” any of the cast from A League of Their Own and thought that Geena “did OK” with her baseball skills.
In 1993, following the film’s release, Geena was nominated in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical category at the Golden Globes. Madonna was also nominated at the same award show in the Best Original Song - Motion Picture category.
When asked about Madonna’s performance in A League of Their Own, Debra added: “I think [her] acting career has spoken for itself.”