On October 25 2004, it was announced that Madonna would lend her voice to the cast of the animated film Arthur and the Invisibles (then titled simply Arthur), written & directed by French filmmaker Luc Besson.
The film tells the story of ten-year-old Arthur, who, while trying to save his grandfather’s house from developers, goes on a treasure hunt in the land of the Minimoys, a tiny people living in coexistence with nature, informed The Malaysia Star. According to ABC News, Arthur was adapted from a series of children’s books written by Besson, who also wrote the screenplay for the movie. Madonna was said to be voicing the part of Princess Selenia, a character who travels with Arthur to a mysterious forbidden city where an evil being dwells. “The recording is being done at the moment,” a source was quoted by ratethemusic as saying.
Madonna had previously collaborated with Besson earlier in 2004 when he directed her music video for Love Profusion. She was also in the midst of writing songs for a proposed musical film to be directed by Besson, but she later withdrew from the project after being dissatisfied by the finished screenplay.
On November 19 1993, the movie Dangerous Game premiered in New York City. Madonna shared top-billing with co-stars Harvey Keitel & James Russo in director Abel Ferrara’s gritty and experimental film about film-making. It was one of the first productions by Maverick Pictures, the film arm of Madonna’s multimedia company that was born in partnership with Warner Bros. the previous year. In some countries, the film was released under its original title, Snake Eyes, which could not be used in the U.S. due to a previous trademark on the name.
Given Maverick’s production involvement, it is perhaps unsurprising that the film’s credits include some names that should be familiar to many Madonna fans:
- Madonna’s longtime manager and founding partner in Maverick, Freddy DeMann, as executive producer
- Madonna’s assistant at the time, Missy Coggiola
- her frequent costume designer, Marlene Stewart
- her stylist, Hiram Ortiz–who not only styled her for the film but also appears as her stylist onscreen
- Madonna’s then-future manager, now the late Caresse Henry–at the time an assistant to DeMann
- songs by Maverick-signed music groups Proper Grounds & UNV
- Madonna’s eldest brother, Anthony Ciccone, as locations production assistant
Unhappy with Ferrara’s final cut of the film–which was reported to have been drastically altered from the movie that had been pitched to the actors–Madonna did not attend the premiere and, in Ferrara’s view, killed the movie’s shot at achieving wider distribution after badmouthing it in the press. Ironically, Ferrara noted, the reviews of Madonna’s strong performance in the film (which was certainly more natural, raw & vulnerable than any of her previous big-screen appearances) are among the best she had received as an actress at the time.
(Note: the clips used in the short preview above are from a low-resolution, compressed rip from DVD and do not represent the superior quality of the new high definition Blu-ray edition of the film.)