It was Demi Moore, not Geena Davis, who was director Penny Marshall’s first alternative for the lead function of feminine baseball phenom Dottie Hinson in 1992’s “A League of Their Own.”
But Moore made deadly skilled mistake of getting pregnant, scuppering her shot at that epic function.
“She actually bought f–ked out of the half,” Marshall posthumously cracks in “No Crying in Baseball: The Inside Story of ‘A League of Their Own’: Big Stars, Dugout Drama, and a Home Run for Hollywood,” by Erin Carlson, out now (Hachette Books).
And Davis wasn’t even the second alternative for the now-classic film, which tells the story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, a real-life skilled girls’s baseball league that existed throughout World War II.
Seemingly each younger actress in Hollywood needed to be half of the film, together with Sean Young — who confirmed up to auditions in an “vintage Yankees uniform.” Courteney Cox, Cindy Crawford, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tatum O’Neal, Brooke Shields, Marisa Tomei, Kyra Sedgwick, Robin Wright and even Marla Maples all vied for roles. Farrah Fawcett additionally needed in, regardless of being in her 40s by then.
“When you see a film wherein all of the leads are girls and all the lads are supporting components, you wish to be in it,” mentioned Lori Petty, chosen to be Dottie’s child sister, Kit.
Oscar-nominee Deborah Winger gained the function of Dottie Hinson, giving the manufacturing extra cachet.
Tom Hanks desperately needed to be solid as Rockford Peach supervisor Jimmy Duggan, “hoping to spend a summer time in baseball nirvana,” Carlson writes.
“Can I’ve it?” he requested Marshall.
But the director, who famously by no means pulled punches, informed Hanks he wasn’t proper for the half. (Hanks beforehand landed his function in 1988’s “Big” solely after Marshall, who additionally directed that film, satisfied Harrison Ford he was “too cool” for the lead function.)
Hanks was too cute, which means audiences would possibly incongruously swoon over his bitter and unlikable drunk of a personality.
“Eat! You’ve bought to eat. Get fats,” Marshall informed Hanks.
She additionally unapologetically informed Rosie O’Donnell not to eat.
“Well, I say these issues in the event that they must be mentioned,” Marshall later admitted.
Elizabeth Perkins, who additionally starred in “Big,” wasn’t spared Penny’s nonchalant criticism, both. The director informed her she’d failed the “League” audition as a result of “you throw like a woman.”
But maybe probably the most influential determination was casting Madonna within the the function of “All the Way” Mae, a spitfire of a personality who performed ball, cracked sensible, and did a imply jitterburg.
Winger wasn’t having any of it and made it clear she thought the Material Girl’s presence was not more than “shameless stunt casting.” She threatened Marshall, telling the director that if Madonna stayed, “it could be an extended, scorching summer time,” in keeping with [former Columbia Pictures head] Frank Price.
But Winger was a infamous crank and Madonna then probably the most acknowledged lady on the planet.
So Madonna stayed and Debra Winger paid round $3 million to get misplaced.
Geena Davis was despatched in to check out for the Dottie function, although the towering magnificence had no baseball chops.
Davis’s brokers informed her to completely not play catch with Marshall.
So Geena dolled herself up in excessive heels and a mini-skirt when visiting the director’s dwelling.
“Fully 5 minutes glided by earlier than I used to be out on the f–king garden, throwing a f–king baseball,” Davis recollects. She was horrible however bought the job as a result of she was “trainable,” in keeping with Marshall.
With filming underway in Chicago and Evansville, Indiana, issues devolved right into a “three-ring circus” when Madonna hit city.
She labored more durable than anybody on set — rising at 4 a.m. to jog 8 or 10 miles and apply baseball even earlier than filming began every day — however it was clear the Queen of Pop had no boundaries.
When one baseball-playing feminine further launched Madonna to her girl “roommate,” Madge appeared on the two and scoffed at their efforts to be secret lovers.
“Roommate, huh? Yeah, proper.”
Marshall famously ate something, together with piles of bacon and loads of her beloved “meat rockets” (scorching canine), however Madonna caught to a plant-based weight loss program and expressly informed the on-set caterer she refused to eat something “that takes a s–t.”
When the caterer later requested Madonna if she’d had breakfast at some point, she shrugged and answered, “I sucked James Woods’ c–okay within the elevator.”
When her panties turned seen below her classic gown throughout a dance scene, Madonna was informed to maintain her legs closed. “Story of my life,” she muttered.
Madonna wasn’t the one rabble-rouser.
Davis was notably good, a card-carrying member of Mensa, however she additionally appreciated changing the cream in Oreos with mayonnaise and handing them out to unsuspecting solid and crew.
Petty as soon as satisfied Madonna that although she’d be off-screen in a single scene she’d nonetheless should preserve making out with “Guy at Bar” character for the length of filming, which the singer gamely did for the subsequent 90 minutes.
One day, an nameless publication known as “Peach Phuzz” was shared on-set, highlighting gossip about issues like solid hangovers, Davis’ stunning cigarette behavior and Madonna’s random “canoodling” (with both a married actress or a spoken-for male crew member — or possibly each?).
It was ultimately revealed that the Gossip Girl behind “Peach Phuzz” was none apart from Hanks.
The film’s many actresses and feminine ballplayers working as extras had been housed in the identical lodges, quickly resulting in myriad messy affairs.
Even the straight women couldn’t assist however dabble in Sapphic love.
“All kinds of pairings and couplings had been taking place …. Then extra pairings and couplings …. And then there have been loads of arguments and breakups and stuff,” Carlson quotes one actress as saying.
“But I don’t keep in mind any tales the place it was not a optimistic factor,” she concludes.
All that feminine vitality in “A League of Their Own” gave many film executives pause.
They couldn’t think about how an all-female solid might carry a sports activities film.
Industry scuttlebutt prompt Penny Marshall’s women’ baseball movie is perhaps in trouble — probably a flop on the dimensions of the earlier 12 months’s “Hook” or “Bugsy.”
But when a producer confirmed an early reduce to his younger daughters, who had been 10 and 6 years outdated, they thought it was one of the best film they’d seen since “Wayne’s World” and even needed to decorate up at Halloween like Rockford Peaches.
“A League of Their Own” would go on to make $132 million, greater than every other baseball film ever — greater than “Field of Dreams” or “Bull Durham” or “The Natural” or “Moneyball.”