25 years of 'Desperately Seeking Susan'

The Los Angeles Film Festival is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Susan Seidelman's best-known film, the delightful 1985 romantic comedy "Desperately Seeking Susan," which marked Madonna's first starring role in a studio feature film.

Seidelman, who had directed the acclaimed 1982 indie punk hit, "Smithereens," knew she had to counterbalance Roberta's suburban character with someone authentically from the New York music scene. "I knew the New York side, the New Wave, punk, downtown of the story," she says. "I had heard about Madonna. She lived in my neighborhood."

Madonna was just starting to get attention thanks to the fledgling MTV cable network, but Madonna fever hadn't gripped the youth of the day when she auditioned.

When filming began in 1984, Madonna was still under the radar enough that they were able to shoot in downtown New York without security or heavy crowds craning to get a glimpse of the Material Girl.

"By the time we hit the end of the shoot, her 'Like a Virgin' album was just released and suddenly she was on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and there was this huge avalanche of attention towards her," says Seidelman.

By the time of the film's release in early 1985, Seidelman says she and the producers were nervous because Madonna had become so famous. "Would it work for us or against us?" she says. "Ultimately, the movie had to stand up for itself. I think for whatever reason, it caught the zeitgeist of the time. I think that is what people responded to."

Miami Herald


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