“Roberta is desperate to be Susan. Susan is wanted by the mob. The mob finds Roberta instead…”
Roberta and Susan. Two girls who couldn’t be more different. Roberta Glass (Rosanna Arquette) is a bored housewife from suburbia while Susan Thomas (Madonna) is an adventurous and wild drifter posting up in SoHo. When their lives become inexplicably intertwined, and Roberta is mistaken for Susan, chaos ensues. The 1985 comedy Desperately Seeking Susan was instrumental in shaping Madonna’s acting career and personal image.
Here are a few fun things to know before you go watch Desperately Seeking Susan on EPIX.
1. Madonna was given considerable control over her role as Susan: She did her own hair and make-up and supplied her own wardrobe! Her iconic look has been copied over and over again, and now you know it was 100% a Madonna original look.
2. When Madonna arrived for the audition, Director Susan Seidelman recalled, “She got out of the cab, but didn’t have enough money to pay for it. So here she is meeting with a bunch of movie people for a job, and the first thing she does is hit us up for cab fare. It’s exactly what Susan would have done!”
Madonna didn’t actually learn how to drive until one year after this film came out, when she was 27. Her husband at the time, Sean Penn, bought her first car which she ended up wrecking! Oy Vey.
3. During the filming, Madonna was desperate to keep her figure. When the script called for her to eat, she’d spit out the food at the end of each take.
4. Versions of this movie that aired on networks like AMC and WE after the September 11th attacks, edited out shots of the World Trade Center, alongside the usual edits for sex, drugs, and language (most of these scandalous scenes involved Madonna…).
5. Allowing Madonna to express the role in her own way turned out to be a very wise move. Desperately Seeking Susan was rushed released for the Easter season in 1985 and earned an unexpected $16 million!
Desperately Seeking Susan is now playing on EPIX