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Page last updated: 07/10/2005


Madonna may have made some adventurous videos as of late, but this trend started way back in 1984! Taken from Madonna herself, we learn what it was really like to film the video, "Like A Virgin". Now, as you are enjoying your Thanksgiving meal, be glad you weren't in Venice face to face with a lion!

"In Venice , where we filmed the video, they have Carnivale where people wear masks. Well, the video goes back and forth between modern day me in New York and ancient me in a bridal gown in Italy . It starts out in a boat in Manhattan and when I get off the boat Iím in Venice . Itís kind of like a dream.

Anyway, I see this man in a lionís mask for Carnivale and I keep following him. Iíll go into an alleyway or something, then Iíll transform into an ancient character in a gown with a real lion. We used a real lion in the video and it was one of the most dangerous experiences Iíve ever had. It had teeth and everything. The lion tamer said it wouldnít bite me Ė or at least it hadnít bitten anyone yet.

We filmed in these ancient ruins in Venice with pillars and marble buildings. There was water all around us; we were working on this piece of land that jutted out into the Grand Canal . So Iím leaning up against this pillar with this white gauze all over my face like a veil and Iíve got this long white dress on. The lion tamer is over there behind the camera man and heís coaxing the lion so heíll walk over on my right side. Then Iím supposed to lift the veil and weíre supposed to look at each other- like itís an animal-but-man that Iím attracted to. We were supposed to look at each other then he would keep walking toward the lion tamer.

Well, the lion didnít do anything he was supposed to do. I kept waiting for the lion to come up on my right side, trying to pretend I was relaxed and not nervousÖ then all of a sudden I felt this nudge up against my left hand side. I looked down and the lion is like RIGHT THERE in my crotch! I was really frightened because I thought he was going to take a bite out of me. He wasnít supposed to get that close.  

So I lifted my veil and had a stare-down with a lion! We just glared at each other for three-quarters of a minute. Then he opened his mouth and let out a huge roar. I got so frightened that my heart fell in my shoe. And the camera man, the director and everybody else, like they were really scared for me. Nobody expected that to happen.

Meanwhile, the tamer ran over screaming ďCharlie, CharlieĒ Ė that was the lionís name Ė but Charlie wouldnít do what he wanted. You know how youíre supposed to not be afraid when youíre around wild animals cause theyíll attack you if they can feel your fear? I tried to think that it wasnít a lion but just someone curious about me. That got me through it and eventually the lion walked away from me. When he finally got away, the director yelled ďCUT!Ē Then the lion tamer wrestled with Charlie. The tamer was this big burly guy who didnít wear a shirt and he got the lion ground and started wrestling with him. Charlie worked the rest of the day, they did segments with him just walking around and laying down and stuff.

Sure, I might do something with animals again, it was fun. But I could really relate to a lion. I feel like in a past life I was a lion or a cat or something."

-Madonna

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