‘A League of Their Own’: Why Debra Winger is Talking About Her Departure Now

Debra Winger stirred up some buzz when she explained why she quit the lead role in A League of Their Own. The 1992 baseball comedy stars several A-listers such as Tom Hanks and Geena Davis. Winger revealed that she left the movie because of one casting choice: Madonna.

The blunt revelation turned heads. Although the flick is a well-known film, what made Winger reveal this almost 30 years after the film came out?

Debra Winger talking with a microphone
Debra Winger visits Build Studio to discuss ‘The Lovers’ | Mike Pont/WireImage

Debra Winger left the production because of Madonna

In an interview with The Telegraph, Winger described her dedication to the role of Dottie Hinson. Before Davis was cast, Winger trained with the Chicago Cubs to prepare for the role. However, she chose to split once she noticed that Madonna was cast for the sports flick.

Winger believes that casting the pop star turned A League of Their Own into “an Elvis film,” but she doesn’t “begrudge” any of the actors; however, she thinks Madonna’s “acting career has spoken for itself” and that Davis “did OK” in her performance. The Terms of Endearment star was paid for the movie even though she didn’t appear in it.

“The studio agreed with me because it was the only time I ever collected a pay-or-play on my contract,” Winger said. “In other words, I collected my pay even though I did not play, and that’s very hard to get in a court.”

Winger further criticized the film by implying it wasn’t realistic. Winger thinks the film isn’t emblematic of the actual team since it’s based on the real All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. “As entertaining as [the film] was, you don’t walk away going ‘Wow, those women did that,'” she added. “You kind of go ‘Is that true?'”

Why did Winger talk about this nearly 30 years later?

The sole focus of Winger’s interview was not on A League of Their Own. The topic of the interview was the #MeToo movement. But the baseball movie is making headlines again in 2021. An Amazon-produced TV series based on the original film is in development. Filming is scheduled for July through October 2021.

Now that her former film is hitting the small-screen, Winger’s interview became newsworthy. The actor was not cast to star in the show, and neither were most of the other original faces. However, Rosie O’Donnell was confirmed to guest star in a minor role.

The new main characters of the 1940s team are Carson Shaw, Max, Greta, Mita, Clance, Jess, Esti, and Casey “Dove” Porter.

What’s the difference between the movie and the new show?

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amazon described the modern series as a “fresh approach” to the original Penny Marshall film. The show follows the development of the league in 1943 and the players’ personal journeys. The show will introduce different perspectives into the show.

The character Carson is a skilled catcher from a small town who chases a dream that she was unaware of; Greta is a first basewoman who is also an adventurous traveler. Other characters embark on their own paths to show the World War II-era society why the AAGPBL matters.

The movie, however, focuses on the relationship between two sisters, Dottie and Kit. While the film is a heartfelt comedy, it also has its moments of heartbreak. The reality of World War II haunts each team’s baseball players. Tom Hanks’ character, Jimmy Dugan, is a boisterous and cynical coach. Fans of the movie should recognize one of Hanks’ most famous lines: “There’s no crying in baseball!”

Related: Which Movie Role Made Tom Hanks ‘Tom Hanks’?