David LaChapelle explains how he Hung Up on Madonna
As MadonnaTribe longtime readers know, the name of director David LaChapelle was originally attached to Madonna’s “Hung Up” video. On this week’s episode of the “Yann Calls…” webseries, LaChapelle finally talks about what happened on the shoot and why the project didn’t go ahead – and explains how the Queen of Pop taught him a life lesson after all.
“You know, I gotta thank her because honestly I’ve never said no to a job before.” he explains. “We were in pre-production for the video ‘Hung Up’ when she was screaming at me. (…) I had just finished the documentary ‘Rise’ and I had really worked so hard. That film opened theatrically all over the world and I had just come from that junket. I was tired.”
“I wanted all my life to do a Madonna video. When she was screaming at me on the phone, I couldn’t take it. (…) The song was good and everything was in place. We were doing the job and I remember that being so mean. The shoots were always so stressful with her, when we did photoshoots. I thought God I can’t go through this. I just hung up the phone. I got very quiet because she was yelling at me. I put the phone down. I hung it up. It was a cellphone actually. My agent was sitting beside me and you know, Macaulay Culkin in ‘Home Alone’? She’s like ‘You hung up on Madonna?’ and the funny thing was the song was ‘Hung Up’. (…)”
“I’m not here to judge her. Everything in life is a lesson to me. That’s how I look at it. Honestly, it was the first time I said no. She gave me a gift, in a sense, because from that moment on I realized I didn’t have to do everything. I was working all my life out of fear because I didn’t finish High School. I didn’t have a diploma. My mom said I was going to be homeless when I was a kid and I believed her. I thought so too. (…) I finally said no and nothing bad happened. So I started saying no more and more which led me to stopping all together working for magazines and celebrities. I still shoot celebrities, but it’s rare. When it happens is for a reason. Right now I’m focusing on the fine art work. In a way, Madonna, that experience with her was kind of a catalyst. So I should be grateful.”
“Yann Calls…” is a webseries where Brazilian artist Yann video-chats with different artists. Some of the guests have been Dita Von Teese, Kathy Griffin and Adore Delano, Bianca Del Rio & Courtney Act from RuPaul’s Drag Race.
In the video below, LaChapelle also talks about working with Andy Warhol, the reason why he decided to drop everything and move to Hawaii, and also how was working with artists such as Michael Jackson, Britney Spears and Whitney Houston.