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Who's That Girl (1987) Poster

Trivia

The film was originally titled "Slammer" until Madonna wrote and decided to use Who's That Girl as the film's theme song. The song went to #1 on the Billboard chart in August 1987.
Originally, Sean Penn was set to co-star with Madonna but after their movie Shanghai Surprise (1986) flopped, the producers opted to go with Griffin Dunne instead, fresh from his success with After Hours (1985).
Regarding her acting abilities, James Foley stressed on the fact that Madonna was very uptight and into every detail, determined to have the correct portrayal. "That's probably why it wasn't so good. In Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), when she didn't know what she was doing, she was being natural and at her best."
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When Loudon opens his diary at the beginning of the film, his schedule reads as follows:

7am: Wake 7:10am: Shower & shave 7:30am: Get dressed 8am: Breakfast & 'The Journal' 8:30am: Drive to office 9am: Call caterers 10:05am: Wendy arrives 10:10am: Meet w/ Mr. Worthington 11:10am: Final tux fitting 12:30pm: Lunch w/ Worthingtons - Club 2pm: Pick up ring @ Cartier 3pm: Co-op Interview 4:30pm: Pick up Wendy's wed. gift 6pm: Bachelor dinner w/ chums 8:30pm: Call Wendy - Love & kisses 9pm: Review pre-nuptial agrm. 9.30pm: Bedtime.
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The film begins on September 11, 1987, and carries on into the morning of September 12.
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Madonna brought in her friend James Foley to direct. He had previously been Sean Penn's best man at his marriage to Madonna, and had also directed the music videos of her singles "Live to Tell" (1986) and "Papa Don't Preach" (1986). He was ecstatic at having the opportunity to make a major feature film, as previously he had only directed the small-budgeted film At Close Range (1986), starring Penn.
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Costume designer Deborah Lynn Scott was signed to create the wardrobe for the film. Madonna, who visualized the character of Nikki as a dizzy screwball blond, started watching the screwball comedies of the sixties, especially the work of actors like Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard and Judy Holliday. She asked Scott to create comical rah-rah and ballet tutu skirts for the character, with fishnet tights and loud make-up. Scott also designed a glamorous Monroe-esque dress for the love scene between her and Griffin Dunne.
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James Foley accepted the failure of the film saying, "I knew it was doomed before even filming started. The day before the first shoot, I sat in my hotel and looked to the script thinking, 'Damn, wish I could re-write this whole thing.' After the film released, my dad called me up saying 'you know The New York Times are calling it the worst film of the year." He recalled that both he and Madonna chose to overlook the failure of the film, and remembered one incident when he met Madonna at a hotel lobby. "She just looked to me once and said, 'So it's a flop right?' That's the only time she ever mentioned the film. Even Sean also never mentioned it in front of her."
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Production was halted for a few days in December due to snowfall in New York City. Madonna decided to utilize the time by working on the film's soundtrack and her next concert tour.
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During the development of the starting credits, Madonna asked James Foley if they could have a cartoon figure of her character introducing the film credits. Foley liked the idea, and Warner enlisted cartoonist April March to create the cartoon.
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Madonna proceeded to linger on the set to watch James Foley and his team work long after her scenes had been shot. Foley described her being around the set and not acting as a "pain-in-the-ass", since she "wont skimp especially on cost and she should know that Warner had a tight schedule and constraints on the budget. They still did not trust Madonna when it came to acting. Hell they even gave a greater percentage of the budget to the soundtrack."
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Initially Madonna had thought of asking Sean Penn to play the part of Detective Bellson, but Penn was serving a 60-day jail term, having violated the probation he received in 1986, for assaulting a friend of Madonna and attacking an extra on the set of At Close Range (1986).
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Warner Bros. did not arrange for an advance screening of the film, as they believed that Madonna's appeal would draw moviegoers to come to it.
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To further promote the film, Madonna embarked on the 1987 Who's That Girl World Tour. It was her first world tour, reaching Asia, North America and Europe.
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The film was better accepted in the foreign released territories, prompting Madonna to defend herself, rather weakly, that her ideas were better accepted in Europe and Japan, rather than her home country. She added, "I think the movie did badly in America because I upstaged it with my tour. People were confused about the connection between the record, the tour and the movie because they all had the same title. I also think there are people who don't want me to do well in both fields. I had to really fight to get any respect from the music business and now I guess there are some people who feel that I ought to be grateful for that respect and stick to music." Nevertheless, Warner Bros. decided to release the film in home media in VHS on November 11, 1987, a decision not approved by Madonna.
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At one point when the crew were shooting in front of Trump Plaza, Donald J. Trump came down from his penthouse to avail of a major photo op with the paparazzi, ensuring he'd be seen with Madonna in the New York Post the following day.
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During the second take of a scene involving the cougar, the cougar accidentally escaped from the cage, resulting in filming being paused for a few hours.
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Casting for the film began as soon as Madonna had signed up for it.
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Madonna herself commented that she had a lot in common with the character Nikki. "She's courageous and sweet and funny and misunderstood. But she clears her name in the last, and that's always good to do. I'm continuously doing that with the public. I liked Nikki's tough side and her sweet side. The toughness is only a mask for the vulnerability she feels inside."
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Madonna would ask for five minutes to study the script for the scene they were filming. For example, before a scene in which she needed to appear out of breath, she did a series of push-ups before going on set.
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Griffin Dunne observed that "[Madonna] likes her first take best. I think my best is around fourth. She always says, 'You got it, you got it,' and she was driving me crazy just like her character would. We had to make a compromise as to which take is the best."
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Madonna wanted James Foley to give her proper direction on set, but he preferred her to be her real self, rather than the persona in her music videos.
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The film was released to a total of 944 theatres, with an extra 66 being added later.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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