PLAYBOY: You directed some of Madonna’s most stylish videos, such as “Vogue” and “Bad Girl,” the latter depicting the singer as a film noir femme fatale who gets strangled with panty hose. Why do you think that Madonna never translated to the big screen?
FINCHER: Madonna is very crafty. She’s street-smart. The video directors who did the best work with her—romantic, amazing stuff like what Jean-Baptiste Mondino did—were the ones she allowed to take risks and the ones who made videos she would throw herself into. I made commercials to make money, but I did music videos as a kind of film school. I learned that the way to be with Madonna was to follow her impetus, because the artist in a music video is not only the star but also the studio. I could say to Madonna, “I need you to do it again. I need you to stop blinking. I need you to get your fucking chin down. And I need you to be better.” Whether it was Madonna, Brad Pitt or Ben Affleck, I’m well aware that the work got financed because of them. But they needed to know I had to get them off their mark, get them to a place where it might get warm, because there might be friction.
Madonna desperately needs this kind of director.