Debra Winger quit A League Of Their Own when Madonna was cast

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Debra Winger

Debra Winger
Photo: Donna Ward (Getty Images)

One of Geena Davis’ most iconic roles is Dottie in A League Of Their Own, which (in addition to her role in Thelma & Louise) gave queer woman another character to fall for. But turns out Davis wasn’t supposed to star in the film initially. In a new interview with The Telegraph promoting her Apple TV+ show Mr. Corman, Debra Winger spoke about being cast as Dottie but quitting the film because she didn’t like that Madonna was cast as Mae.

Winger told The Telegraph that she trained with the Chicago Cubs for 3 months but as soon as she found out Madonna joined the production, she decided to leave the movie. At the time, she told director Penny Marshall that, with the singer in the movie, it was becoming “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,” recalls Winger.

But she seemingly has no regrets about bowing out of A League Of Their Own, though. Winger doesn’t think it truly honored the real life women who were part of the Rockford Peaches. “As entertaining as [the final film] was, you don’t walk away going ‘Wow, those women did that.’ You kind of go ‘Is that true?,’” says the actor. She also says that Davis “did OK,” but was a bit cagey when it came to discussing her thoughts on Madonna’s acting, saying “I think [her] acting career has spoken for itself.”

Now, Amazon has an A League Of Their Own reboot series in the works, co-created by Mozart In The Jungle showrunner Will Graham and Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson. Jacobson is set to star, alongside Nick Offerman, Chanté Adams, D’Arcy Carden, Gbemisola Ikumelo (Brain In Gear), Kelly McCormack (The Neddeaus of Duqesne Island), Roberta Colindrez, and Priscilla Delgado. At least Winger can relax knowing Madonna won’t be in this version.

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