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Debra Winger reveals why she quit 'A League of Their Own,' criticizes Madonna's acting

The 66-year-old actor had some choice words for Penny Marshall's casting decision.
/ Source: TODAY

Debra Winger is getting candid about why she dropped out of “A League of Their Own.”

Winger was slated to play the character of Dottie Hinson in the 1992 classic, but another casting decision for the movie drove the now 66-year-old actor to leave the project.

In a recent interview with U.K. paper The Telegraph, Winger explained that even though she had trained with the Chicago Cubs for three months in preparation for the role, when director Penny Marshall cast Madonna as Mae Mordabito, she dropped out of the film entirely, accusing Marshall of making “an Elvis film.”

Madonna as center fielder Mae Mordabito in Penny Marshall's 1992 classic, "A League of Their Own."Alamy Stock Photo

“The studio agreed with me because it was the only time I ever collected a pay-or-play on my contract,” she explained. “In other words, I collected my pay even though I did not play, and that’s very hard to get in a court.”

After seeing the final product, Winger said she believed it did not properly pay homage the women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League because the cast didn't train long enough to seem like real athletes, aside from Lori Petty.

“As entertaining as (the final film) was, you don’t walk away going ‘Wow, those women did that,’” Winger told the paper. “You kind of go, ‘Is that true?’”

The role of Dottie Hinson, intended for Winger, ended up going to Geena Davis. Winger said Davis "did OK," adding, "I certainly don’t begrudge any of (the cast members)."

But she did reserve one more comment for Madonna: “I think (her) acting career has spoken for itself.”

Nearly three decades after the movie premiered, last summer it was announced that “A League of Their Own” was being rebooted into a streaming TV series by Amazon Studios and Sony Pictures Television. Abbi Jacobson from “Broad City” will star and serve as executive producer along with Will Graham, who directed “Mozart in the Jungle.”

The reboot will also star Chanté Adams, D'Arcy Carden, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Kelly McCormack, Priscilla Delgado and Roberta Colindrez. Molly Ephraim, Kate Berlant and Melanie Field will serve as recurring guest stars.

Last month, a new cast member and character was revealed for the highly-anticipated series: Nick Offerman from "Parks and Recreation" will be playing Casey "Dove" Porter, a role mirroring Tom Hanks' iconic character Jimmy Dugan.

In a press release, the studio said that the revival series will capture “the joyful spirit of Penny Marshall’s beloved classic, while widening the lens to tell the story of an entire generation of women who dreamed of playing professional baseball.”