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In the early days of September 2001, I was driving down Santa Monica Boulevard on my way to a call-back for Guy Ritchie’s adaptation of Swept Away, starring his then-wife Madonna, when it dawned on me: Instead of turning left toward the office buildings, I would be veering into the residential area. I was going to Madonna’s house. Her music had been the soundtrack to my preteen angst, and she was my idol as a feminist and as an artist. Naturally, I pulled the car over, called my sister and had a mini-freak-out.

When Madonna walked into Guy’s home office that day, her little son, Rocco, was perched on her hip. She told me that my audition was funny and that I’d be good in the movie, and I just tried to keep ­breathing. I assume it was in that moment that Guy concluded I’d be the perfect, nubile idiot to cast in Swept Away. I won the part. The next few weeks were surreal for all of us. I had seen Madonna in concert as a teenager and had splurged on tickets for her Staples Center show scheduled for Sept. 11, 2001. Needless to say, that concert was postponed as the world came undone. But a couple of weeks after we met, I watched Madonna finish her Drowned World Tour. Before the music began that night, she started with a prayer for peace: 'If you want to change the world, change yourself,' she told the crowd. Through tears, I sang along for the entire show.

Anyone who has ever had the ­opportunity to work alongside her - as I did in Malta during those next couple of months - understands why Madonna is Madonna.

To read the rest of the interview by Elizabeth Banks visit: www.billboard.com/articles

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