Desperately Seeking Susan and Tank Girl on the Rechabite menu

The Rechabite has a great film double bill coming up on June 26th, first up is Madonna’s 1985 classic Desperately Seeking Susan followed by the 1995 cult classic Tank Girl.  The screening is a collaboration between The Rechabite and the long lost institution Planet Video. 

Desperately Seeking Susan is a classic comedy of mistaken identity that stars Madonna, Rosanna Arquette and Aidan Quin. It was Madonna’s first big movie role, and probably still one of the biggest successes of her forays into acting.

As the film was being shot in the summer of 1984 Madonna’s music career exploded and the film was rapidly rewritten to give her extra scenes. Madonna also supplied the song Get Into the Groove to the film’s soundtrack.

Originally the studio had wanted the film to star Dianne Keaton and Goldie Hawn, but the director Susan Siedelman pushed for younger actors to be cast. Brice Willis was considered for the male lead at one point, and Melanie Griffith, Ellen Barkin, and Jennifer Jason Leigh also were considered for the title role that eventually went to Madonna.

Among the cast are many actors who have gone on to bigger careers including Roseanne star Laurie Metcalf, comedian Stephen Wright, Mark Blum (Crocodile Dundee) Will Patton (Falling Skies), John Turturro (Do The Right Thing, The Night Of), musician Richard Hell, Michael Badalucco (The Practice), Giancarlo Espositio (The Book of Bobba Fett) and Ann Magnuson (Clear and Present Danger, Making Mr Right).

There’s a also a cameo appearance from Eddie, David and Robert, the three triplets who were separated at birth – whose stories are told in the recent documentary Three Identical Strangers. 

The screwball comedy captured New York City in miod-80’s and is filled with unforgettable characters. Director Susan Sidemen went on to direct the films Cookie and She-Devil, and also directed the pilot episode of Sex and the City.

The 1991 film adaptation of the cult-comic Tank Girl was a huge bomb at the box office when it was first released, but it’s gone on to develop a legion of fans who love Lori Petty’s over the top performance.

Tank Girl was a a post-apocalyptic comic set in Australia in a distant future where water is scarce, the world is run by a corporation and Kangaroos have mutated to the point where they can talk and be sidekicks. The story has been praised for it’s empowered female protagonist, and unique style.

The production has a worldwide open casting, which they later admitted was a bit of a publicity stunt. Director Rachael Talalay has noted that several of the Spice Girls met for the first time while waiting to audition, and there is footage showing Victoria Beckham and Geri Haliwell standing next to each other in the audition line.

Originally British actor Emily Lloyd was cast in the lead role, but she was dropped from the production and Lori Petty was brought in to play the role.  Petty was known to  audiences through her role on the TV show Booker – a spin off from 21 Jump Street. She’d also made her mark in the box office smashes Point Break and A League of Their Own.  Years later queer audiences would fall in love with her all over again when she played Lolly Whitehill in Orange is the New Black. 

Also in the cast is Ice T, Naomi Watts and Malcolm McDowell. It was Naomi Watts second US based film follow her appearance in the 1993 John Goodman film Matinee. Australian audiences were familiar with Watts through her success in Brides of Christ, Flirting and a very memorable advertisement where she turned down a date with Tom Cruise because her Mum was doing a lamb roast that night.

The outrageous film Tank Girl also comes with a great soundtrack that was put together by Courtney Love. Bjork, Devo, L7, Bush, Hole, Portishead, Belly, Veruca Salt, Joan Jett and Paul Westerberg, all make contribute songs.

And while it’s not on the soundtrack, if you listen closely you might spot the song Blank Generation by Richard Hell and the Voidoids. Hell plays the villain in Desperately Seeking Susan.

After Tank Girl director Rachael Talalay went on to become an in-demand TV director who has worked on Band of Gold, Touching Evil, All McBeal, Boston Pubic, Riverdale, Doctor Who, The Flash, Superman & Lois, Doom Patrol, American Gods and stacks of other shows.

The one-night only double bill is set to roll on Sunday 26th June from 6pm. If you dress up as Madonna or Tank Girl there’s a heap of prizes to win too. Tickets are on sale now

OIP Staff


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