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Debra Winger quit A League of Their Own movie after Madonna was cast

Debra Winger has revealed that quit the 1992 hit movie A League of Their Own after learning the director had hired Madonna to star alongside her. 

The Oscar-nominated actress also claimed that she was still paid for it, having trained for months in the baseball-themed project, and was replaced by star Geena Davis in the lead role. 

Winger, 66, who trained with the Chicago Cubs for three months in preparation, told The Telegraph in a new interview that she felt director Penny Marshall was making ‘an Elvis film’ after casting queen of pop Madge, 62. 

Not winging it: Debra Winger has revealed that quit the 1992 hit movie A League of Their Own after learning the director had hired Madonna, despite training for three months (Pic, 2019)

‘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,’ Winger explained. 

The well-reviewed film that also starred Tom Hanks, went on to make $132.4million at the box office against a $40million budget, making it a resounding success. Still, Winger has no regrets. 

‘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?”‘ she explained, stating her case. 

Big success: The movie - also starring Rosie O'Donnell - went on to make $132.4million at the box office against a $40million budget. Still, Winger says she has no regrets.

Big success: The movie – also starring Rosie O’Donnell – went on to make $132.4million at the box office against a $40million budget. Still, Winger says she has no regrets.

Replacement: Winger's role was recast with A-List star Geena Davis instead

Replacement: Winger’s role was recast with A-List star Geena Davis instead 

Winder also said that although the other stars didn’t train as hard as she did, her replacement Davis, 65, ‘did OK.’ 

‘I certainly don’t begrudge any of them,” Winger added. But when asked about Madonna’s performance, Winger is said to have replied: ‘I think [her] acting career has spoken for itself.’ 

Madonna has certainly had a very mixed career in the movie business, having won plaudits for her role in the 1996 Alan Parker film Evita, and been torn to shreds by critics in turkeys such as Guy Ritchie’s Swept Away in 2002.

Mixed bag: Madonna - pictured with co-star O'Donnell at the premiere in '92 - is not known for being the best actress out there in Hollywood

Mixed bag: Madonna – pictured with co-star O’Donnell at the premiere in ’92 – is not known for being the best actress out there in Hollywood 

Meanwhile, Winger notched up Academy Award nominations for her roles in critically-acclaimed films, An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), Terms of Endearment (1983), and Shadowlands (1993). 

The actress became the subject of a documentary in 2002 about her career taking a nosedive in later years, in Rosanna Arquette’s Searching for Debra Winger. 

In 1995 Winger claimed that she decided to take a hiatus from acting. 

In the documentary she explained: ‘I wanted out for years. I got sick of hearing myself say I wanted to quit.’

Elsewhere in her interview with The Telegraph, Winger said she felt the #MeToo movement has ‘gone ridiculously too far in some ways’.

Winger told how she was encouraged to take water retention tablets to lose weight on the set of An Officer and a Gentleman because she looked 'puffy'. Pictured, with co-star Richard Gere

Winger told how she was encouraged to take water retention tablets to lose weight on the set of An Officer and a Gentleman because she looked ‘puffy’. Pictured, with co-star Richard Gere

The American actress explained did not feel the situation had ‘settled’ yet following the upheaval in the film industry.

Now appearing in Apple TV+ series Mr Corman alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Winger said she views the #MeToo movement at least partly through the eyes of her three grown-up sons. 

‘I don’t feel like it’s settled yet. [The industry] is still in upheaval,’ she said. 

‘The plates are shifting. In some ways, it’s pulled ridiculously too far. Part of it is that I’m the mother of three young white males, so I’m looking at things that they’re experiencing, and things that my girlfriends of all different backgrounds are experiencing [and] it hasn’t quite found its steady point yet where there’s room for everybody.’ 

She added: ‘I’m a bad one to ask. I always found my way. Is that privilege? It didn’t feel like it at the time, because I felt like I was in very abusive situations, but it was my responsibility to buck up, get strong.’ 

An Officer and a Gentleman won the actress an Oscar nomination in 1983. It was followed up the following year with a nominated for Terms of Endearment (pictured, with Shirley Maclaine)

An Officer and a Gentleman won the actress an Oscar nomination in 1983. It was followed up the following year with a nominated for Terms of Endearment (pictured, with Shirley Maclaine)


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