Desperately Seeking Susan and four more films where Madonna plays Madonna
When Desperately Seeking Susan arrived in theaters in 1985, Madonna was already a star. In the movie, she played Susan -- who unknowingly trades places with co-star Rosanna Arquette's Roberta, a bored housewife -- and that character seemed uncannily similar to the real-life Madonna, only in widescreen format.
Madonna's character Susan, who is seemingly modeled after Madonna.
Over the course of three decades, Madonna has made a career out of reinventing what it means to be Madonna, and her work in film is no exception. In honor of this weekend's Watching Hour screening of Desperately Seeking Susan at the Sie FilmCenter, here are five movies where Madonna gets meta and plays herself.
(Note: For hardcore Watching Hour fans, this is the last screening hosted by former FilmCenter programming director Keith Garcia before he heads to his new position at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Garcia handpicked Desperately Seeking Susan as his exit showing and to honor Madge's 55th birthday this Friday.)
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Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)
The original Madonna-does-Madonna movie, Desperately Seeking Susan sees the pop star playing a New York vamp whose party -ife exploits become the envy of suburbanite wife and maid Roberta. (Arquette's darling performance as Roberta could have been considered the main character of the film, but was eclipsed by Madonna's undeniable popculture relevance.)
Of the scene above -- where Madonna's Susan meets her doppelganger's husband at a club in an effort to track down the lost woman -- Garcia notes: "This scene is delicious in its own self-awareness of the star (Madonna) that they got to play herself, playing herself as someone else while helping to find someone who is playing her, all while they dance to the soon to be iconic song by the star just playing herself."
Dick Tracy (1990)
In this brilliantly color-saturated '90s adaptation of the vintage comic, Madonna's Breathless Mahoney character very much carried on the look and feel of her real life "Express Yourself"-era persona. Her blonde curls may have been pumped up for the film version, but the Mahoney look and movements were all Madonna.
Further embedding herself in (and virtually making her out-of-character persona indistinguishable from) the cartoon-inspired character, Madonna released I'm Breathless: Music from and Inspired by the Film Dick Tracy, which included "Vogue" -- possibly her most iconic video of all time.