Why Madonna Made Debra Winger Quit 'A League of Their Own'

Debra Winger has revealed how the casting of Madonna made her quit the movie A League of Their Own.

Winger revealed to British newspaper The Telegraph why she left the role which was eventually taken over by Geena Davis. While promoting her new role in the Apple TV+ series, Mr. Corman, she also touched on other hot-button topics in the wide-ranging interview, including a feud with her former co-star Richard Gere.

A League of Their Own came out to great acclaim in 1992 and gained Davis a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical, while Madonna got a nod for Best Original Song with "This Used to be My Playground."

Why did Debra Winger quit A League of Their Own?

Three-time Oscar nominee Winger revealed to The Telegraph that she had a deal with the studio where she was going to get paid whether or not she did the movie A League of Their Own.

Winger had previously criticized the casting of Madonna, accusing the director Penny Marshall of turning the movie into "an Elvis film." Marshall made the claim in her 2012 book My Mother Was Nuts.

Winger seems to stand by her statement, as she said: "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 had trained for three months to become a convincing baseball player in the movie, and had even met the real-life players portrayed in A League of Their Own. She feels that the final product didn't honor them, "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?'"

On the actors who did star in the film, Winger said Davis "did OK" in the role meant for her and she "certainly doesn't begrudge any of" the actors who did appear in it.

Winger's assessment of Madonna in the movie? "I think [her] acting career has spoken for itself," said Winger.

What else did Debra Winger say?

After appearing in An Officer and a Gentleman with Richard Gere, Winger famously called him "a brick wall." Reflecting on her words now, Winger said "I probably could have come up with something nicer." She admits when she runs into him now he says to her, "are you still saying those things about me?" although she insists she only said it once.

She also denied farting in Shirley MacLaine's face on the set of Terms of Endearment, claiming MacLaine was mistaken in her recollection.

On the topic of the MeToo movement, Winger said she's a bad one to ask about it. "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."

Winger famously quit the movie industry in 1995 before returning for sporadic roles over the years. She starred alongside Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married, Ashton Kutcher in Netflix comedy The Ranch, and she now stars alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the Apple TV+ series Mr. Corman.

She plays the lead's mother Ruth Corman in the new show, which is available to watch weekly on Apple TV+ now.

Debra WInger and Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Debra Winger stars alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt in his new Apple TV+ series "Mr. Corman." Apple TV+