Madonna hasn't let her kids see her classic, controversial 1991 documentary "Truth or Dare," which profiled her Blonde Ambition Tour.
Perhaps she'll let them see her forthcoming "I'm Going to Tell You a Secret" — which premieres Friday at 10 p.m. on MTV — and not just because they're in it. For her latest re-invention, Madonna's all grown up now.
"It's a different me," she said. "I have a husband, I have a family, my whole life has changed. It would be pretty strange if I was behaving the same way I did 12 years ago — that would be a little freaky. No more Evian bottles!"
Besides ditching the erotic simulations, Madonna's documentary "I'm Going to Tell You a Secret," which chronicles her 2004 Re-Invention Tour (see "Madonna Twirls Rifle, Lifts Up Her Kilt At Tour Opener"), also abandons a lot of the self-involvement that made "Truth or Dare" so candid. This time, she's happy to share screen time with her troupe of dancers, her musical director, her choreographer and others. She's constantly pushing them to think more, to be more, do more — asking them if they believe in God, if they're registered to vote. She gives one crew member a guitar, so that he'll write more songs. And during one tour stop, she takes her dancers to see a classical pianist play, so that they'll be exposed to passion in another art form.
Still, she tells them just before their last show, crying, that she regrets not having spent more time with them. That's because this time, to contradict Warren Beatty's famous criticism in "Truth or Dare," she is living off-camera.
"I think one of the big differences was that I didn't have a family during 'Truth or Dare,' " she said, "so I spent more time with the dancers, doing goofy, crazy, mischievous things with them. This film, it's a juggling act. I do less stuff with the dancers, but I cry, because I love them, and it's very hard to let go of them."
That connection starts right at the beginning, with an audition process where she pointedly looks for dancers not to blend in, but to stand out. She wants them to have "something special" — so they can do solos and not just be in the background. "I don't think of them as dancers," she explained. "I think of them as actors, as performance artists." She picks one for his skill at tap-dancing, another for breakdancing — and asks them if they smoke marijuana. Not because she's morally opposed, but because she says it'll slow them down in the end.
|Get a 10-minute sneak preview of Madonna's new documentary, only on Overdrive.|
Because she identifies with them — having worked as a dancer herself — she hates cutting them from the auditions, and seems to be as gleeful when they are when she gets to tell them they've made the cut. "I know what it's like to dance your heart out and have them go, 'Thanks, you can leave now,' " Madonna said. "It's terrible."
It's also terrible, she says, to try to leave her family behind, so she tries to take them on the road with her at times, although her husband seems to prefer hanging out at pubs to seeing every show. Her two kids, meanwhile, have definitely learned a few lessons from mom — including how to steal a scene. Lourdes, 9, sounds impressive when she instructs 4-year-old Rocco to look at "the big picture." Rocco laughs uproariously.
Madonna says she was reluctant at first to include them — she didn't want to exploit them, but if she didn't show that side of her life, the documentary "would be a lie." "It's a fine line to walk," Madonna said. So she ended up taping the segments with her kids with a friend of the family. "Everyone was very comfortable," she said. "Honestly, they didn't even know [the cameraman] was there. They just sort of behaved as they normally do."
Even though Lourdes is a natural, Madonna jokes that she doesn't want her daughter following in her footsteps. "She's going to be a nun!" Madonna declared. But seriously, little Lola is already displaying a talent for ballet, and will be dancing in "The Nutcracker" in London this year.
Perhaps after that, Mom will reconsider letting her daughter see at least this documentary, to see what life as a dancer on the road is really like.
"I'm Going To Tell You a Secret" premieres on Friday, October 21, at 10 p.m. on MTV. That same day, you can catch this in-depth interview in its entirety when "MTV News RAW: Madonna" premieres exclusively on MTV Overdrive.