On February 10 2008, Madonna won her 7th Grammy Award. The Confessions Tour film, directed by Jonas Åkerlund, took home the award for Best Long Form Music Video.
It marked Madonna’s fourth Grammy nomination for Best Long Form Music Video, and her second win in the category:
- Blond Ambition World Tour Live – Won (1992)
- The Girlie Show: Live Down Under – Nominated (1995)
- I’m Going To Tell You A Secret – Nominated (2007)
- The Confessions Tour – Won (2008)
On February 4 2003, filming for Madonna’s music video for American Life took place in Los Angeles with director by Jonas Åkerlund.
The casting call issued for the video sought the following:
Eastern European Man (30 – 60 yrs. old, Real people, THIN, interesting looking, great face, worn out looking, craggy). 4 Beautiful Models (drop dead gorgeous w. amazing legs and bodies). 10 soldiers (must have long hair and be willing to shave it for the video… good-looking, really good body). Hair stylist (male or female, any ethnicity, must be real hair stylists, think editorial type. Stylist (male or female, any ethnicity, 20’s, cool and interesting looking, think N.Y. 2 Babes (very voluptuous and buxom, bimbo types, b pin-up girls). Makeup artists (m or f, any ethnicity, a REAL makeup artist). 2 IRAQI kids (boys and girls, 4 – 7 yrs. old). African-American Male (35 – 50, THIN).
Åkerlund commented on the upcoming video to Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet:
“It’s great that Madonna gives me the trust to do this video. The song is super cool and aimed for the dance floors. I especially love that she gives me the trust to do the first single from the new album. There is a special feeling and ambition around the first single and a hell of lot of secrets. I had to sign a paper even before I got to listen to the song! The shooting will take 3 days.”
On June 20 2006, Madonna’s first live album, I’m Going to Tell You a Secret, containing songs from the documentary of the same name, was released.
The two-disc set included a CD with 14 songs (including a previously unreleased Demo Rock Version of I Love New York), and a DVD with the documentary film.
The documentary provided a behind-the-scenes look at Madonna’s 2004 Re-Invention Tour. The documentary was directed by Jonas Åkerlund.
On May 8 2006, Warner Bros. announced that Madonna would be releasing her Jonas Åkerlund-directed documentary I’m Going to Tell You a Secret as a DVD/CD package on June 20.
“It’s sort of a circle around three families: the family of the people I work with, the family that I live with, and the family of man, the world that I live in.”
“It’s about the trials and tribulations of putting a show together, the struggle to balance my life as an entertainer with my life as a mother, and it’s also about the world, my politics, my belief systems, my philosophy, about where I feel my place in the world is.”
On April 5 2003, an Australian interview aired that demonstrated Madonna’s quick change of heart regarding the American Life music video.
During the interview with Richard Wilkins, the following dialog takes place:
Wilkins: “You’re going to get all sorts of criticism I think.”
Madonna: “Why. Tell me why!”
W: “People are going to say it’s inappropriate to show bombs going off and planes bombing people.”
M: “Why? That’s on the news every five minutes! I’m just using news footage that’s already been seen by everyone.”
W: “I’m suggesting that some people are going to think maybe it’s ill-timed.”
M: “But in a way it’s perfect timing, because it’s what we are experiencing right now – so, it’s American life. It’s very current and appropriate I think.”
Wilkins may have convinced Madonna to go cold on the idea.
“Maybe I did, perhaps I caused her to think again,” he said. “She is very proud of the video, as she should be because it’s incredible.”
By the time the interview aired (a week later), Madonna had already pulled the American Life video and made a statement regarding her choice.
You can read the statement and watch the full music video here.