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Madonna Gets Her Way -- As Usual -- In 1994, In The Loder Files

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November of 1994 was cold, damp and windy up in Ronda, a fairly ancient town perched on a mountain cliff in the south of Spain. Madonna had gone there to shoot a video for "Take a Bow," her next single, so we, of course, dutifully followed. Ronda is promoted to tourists as the birthplace of modern bullfighting — meaning it was there, around 200 years earlier, that some brave/insane matador had decided to climb down from the relative safety of horseback to do battle with a bull face to face (or horn-to-groin, just as likely). "Take a Bow," the song, had nothing to do with bullfighting, but in the world of music videos this was a fact of gnat-like insignificance.
Madonna and her crew (which included cinematographer Harris Savides, who went on to shoot "American Gangster") set up in Ronda's old stone bullring, with Maddy's friend Donatella Versace, the fashion personage, flitting around up in the gallery. Congregated in a street outside the ring was a troupe of bullfighting pros — picadors, banderilleros, and so forth — who were awaiting the arrival of Madonna's video costar, the dark and sultry Emilio Muñoz, an actual, well-known torero. The sun had come out, and the afternoon proceeded in the usual way. Madonna, looking very 1940s in a little black-veiled hat (she was lobbying for the lead role in the movie version of the hit musical "Evita" at the time), was situated in a seat looking down on the dusty ring, where Muñoz twirled about, baffling a bovine opponent with his shiny cape. She was playing the role of a woman who'd been dumped by this guy, and was now blinking away tears of heartbreak. Since tears and heartbreak were two commodities rarely associated with Madonna, it had been decided to intersperse the video with other scenes showing her writhing around on a bed in her underwear. That was more like it.
Our interview later on proceeded in the usual way as well. Our own camera crew spent hours setting up a flattering shot on the edge of a courtyard garden in a beautiful old building filled with gleaming carved wood and weathered brick. Then Madonna arrived — well past the appointed time, as usual — and marched straight up to the cameras to check the out the angles and the lighting, which, as usual, she found to be wanting. After much scurrying about, everything was adjusted to ... well, not to her satisfaction, probably, but to a point where she was willing to put up with it without feeling compelled to punch anybody.
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