This docudrama explores her days as a drummer, guitarist, keyboard player and songwriter in the Breakfast Club, a band she formed with Dan Gilroy, who she dated in the late ’70s. The film will be released across digital and on-demand platforms on March 12 via The Orchard.
“As a teen fan of Madonna back in the ’80s I had read a couple of her early biographies which touched on the Breakfast Club band and her time with them,” he said. “Although I always felt that there was more to that story and that this topic was usually just skimmed over.”
On the most surprising aspects that we may learn from the film he said, “For most people, the most surprising thing will be the diligence and life or death determination she had at roughly 20 years old. You don’t see that often, especially today. There also had been a mainstream misconception that Madonna was a talentless girl who used her sexuality to get herself a record deal and that couldn’t be further from the truth.”
“She had always been a student of dance, but once she set her sights on music, she learned to play the drums, the guitar, and the keyboard within one year by practicing day in and day out and playing all of those instruments at live gigs with the band,” he added.
Guido continued, “Madonna also developed her skills as a singer and songwriter during this time period and was quite genius at coming up with catchy lyrics and melodies. She pounded the pavement for years, playing out on the streets, doing gigs with the band in dive bars and clubs, and working hard at trying to get band management or a record contract.”
“Watching an early video like ‘Borderline,’ it seems like this beautiful pop star just spontaneously appeared on our TV screens, but there were years of blood sweat and tears that went into developing herself to that level,” he said.
He noted that there are quite a few things in this film that have never been seen or heard before, but he was careful to include only the things that are relevant to telling this story.
“I didn’t include things for gossip or tabloid value or things that were just too personal and not necessary to move the story forward. We have some really fun conversational recordings between Dan and Madonna that have never been heard before and that reveal a human and vulnerable side of Madonna that I think the audience will be surprised by,” he said.
Guide added, “This was a time where even she herself had no idea of the heights she would climb to and was just trying to find her way. We hear her voice making comments as she hears herself singing through headphones for the very first time in her life, and we can feel the innocence and wonderment that she was experiencing as she took her first steps into making music.”
On choosing an actress to play the “Material Girl” for the role, Guido said, “I stumbled upon Jamie Auld working at The Donut Plant in Chelsea, New York City. I didn’t approach her at first, but after my frustrating attempts to cast this through traditional routes like talent agents and casting directors.
“I decided to approach her to see if she had any interest in acting and if she had ever been told that she looks like a young Madonna,” he said. “Jamie answered ‘yes’ to both questions and after continued conversations, I offered her the role. We have come such a long way since that first meeting and I can’t believe we are now releasing the finished movie.”
With regard to bone structure in her face, in an effort to make it an easy transformation, he said, “Jamie has very similar features and bone structure to Madonna. The heart-shaped face, the almond-shaped blue-green eyes, the small flat nose with flared nostrils, the very pale porcelain skin and dark wavy hair, and the very petite muscular body.”
He continued, “The only thing missing was the gap between her teeth. Ironically Jamie actually had that gap until she got it fixed with Invisalign, which is kind of eerie. It certainly feels like the universe somehow conspired to have me go out to that donut store because this movie would never be what it has become had Jamie not been the person playing Madonna.”
On the perennial relevance of Madonna, he said, “I think Madonna built a huge unwavering fan-base in the ’80s and ’90s that are die hard, extremely loyal fans, but unlike some other older artists, she continues to gain a new younger audience as well.”
Guido continued, “One of the reasons, I think is that she is forever morphing into different forms, different styles of music, working with different and current producers, changing and updating her look and fashion image. Never becoming stale, never becoming a parody of herself, always shape-shifting and keeping us on our toes.”
The director noted that it is Madonna’s ballsy attitude that intrigues people. “She has never been one to shy away from anything because it might be controversial, or to change her show or her image for the sake of pleasing someone else. She has taken many hits from critics who have been trying to dismiss her for four decades now, but she is still standing, still making music, still ruffling feathers, and still selling out stadiums all over the world,” he explained.
“Personally I also find her face mesmerizing,” he said. “I know she had nothing to do with the physical cohesion of genes that formed to make up that face, but there is something in her eyes and the structure of her face that makes it hard to look away from her. The music video for the song ‘Rain’ comes to mind as I am saying this. She is visually hypnotic to me.”
He shared that they are working on a soundtrack for this docudrama. “Without getting too deep into legal terminology, or entertainment laws, producing and including music on a record is very different from including music in a film. We would like to release some of those original Breakfast Club recordings as part of the soundtrack, but we still have some navigating to do,” he said.
Guido revealed that in the future he would love to someday do a docudrama on Cyndi Lauper.