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Tom Hanks Said It Took Him Time to "Get Used to" This Famous Co-Star

He didn't know what to expect from a celebrity who was already pretty infamous.

A League of Their Own is a beloved movie now, but, back when it was being made in the early '90s, no one knew how it was going to turn out or how the shoot was going to go. This included Tom Hanks, who starred in the movie and wasn't so sure what to expect when it came to one of his already very famous co-stars.

The 1992 period sports movie follows the Rockford Peaches, a women's baseball team in the 1940s. Hanks plays the team's manager, disgraced Major League player Jimmy Dugan, alongside an ensemble cast that includes Geena Davis, Madonna, Rosie O'Donnell, Lori Petty, and others. And when it came to one of these cast-mates, Hanks said it took some time to get used to her personality. Read on to see what the actor had to say about working on A League of Their Own and how he ended up feeling about his controversial co-star.

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Hanks said no one knew what to expect from one actor on the film.

Tom Hanks in "A League of Their Own"
Columbia Pictures

Entertainment Tonight recently published an interview with Hanks that took place ahead of the League of their Own premiere in 1992. The star talked about working with Madonna and how much attention her casting in the movie got from the media. In the film, she plays Mae Mordabito, the super-confident and sexy center fielder.

"No one knew what to expect from the world's most recognizable, popular cultural icon," the then-36-year-old Hanks said. He joked that the other stars wondered if she would "show up in a helicopter and descend into left field," but instead she "just kind of showed up."

Being around her took some getting used to.

Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell in "A League of Their Own"
Columbia Pictures

Hanks said that Madonna's unique personality took some time to adjust to.

"She had a distinct personality, and that's kind of interesting to get used to after a while," Hanks said at the time. He was asked to be more specific about what a "distinct personality" was to him and explained that he meant "one who has seen an awful lot" and "who has been through a substantial amount."

Hanks added of the Queen of Pop, "I did end up liking her. I thought she was neat. I thought she was cool." He said that she became "[part] of the ensemble" after "the brouhaha died down."

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Another star was concerned about how Madonna would fit in, too.

Geena Davis in "A League of Their Own"
Columbia Pictures

Speaking to USA Today for A League of Their Own's 25th anniversary in 2017, Davis, who played catcher Dottie Hinson, said that she also didn't know what to expect from Madonna, because she was such a phenomenon.

"She was Madonna," Davis said. "We wondered if we were going to be able to talk to her. Was she going to have an entourage? Were they going to put up walls around her where she stands?" But, obviously, that didn't end up happening. Davis added about Madonna sliding into bases headfirst in the film, "That was painful. But she was so game. She was a trooper."

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Madonna's casting caused one actor to quit, however.

Debra Winger at the Costume Designer Guild Awards in 2014
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

By the time Madonna starred in A League of Their Own, she had already been in several other movies, including Desperately Seeking Susan, Who's That Girl, and Dick Tracy. Still, one of the actors originally intended to be in A League of Their Own went so far as to quit the film after Madonna was cast.

In 2021, Debra Winger—who was originally cast in Davis' role—said that she dropped out because of the pop star. The Terms of Endearment star told The Telegraph (via CNN) that Madonna's casting turned the movie into "an Elvis film" and not the type of movie she agreed to. She added that Davis "did OK" and said of Madonna's performance, "I think [her] acting career has spoken for itself."

Madonna went on to appear in movies including Evita, Swept Away, and Die Another Day.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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