LONDON (AP) _ Pop star Madonna left her husband Sean Penn on the set of their new film ''Shanghai Surprise'' and showed up at a news conference Thursday with her ''great boss'' and producer, former-Beatle George Harrison.

The 27-year-old singer and star of ''Desperately Seeking Susan'' said Harrison ''has given me more advice about how to deal with the press than how to make the film.''

Madonna and Penn, 24, have clashed with photographers several times since they arrived in London on Feb. 21. They have also been accused in the press of rudeness and imperiousness on location in Macao, Hong Kong and Britain.

Dave Hogan, a photographer for the tabloid Sun, Britain's largest circulation daily, claimed he was ''maimed by Madonna,'' when he caught his leg under the wheel of her Mercedes at London's Heathrow Airport.

But Madonna insisted, ''I have nothing to apologize for.''

''I never imagined success could be like this,'' she said, referring to the hot pursuit by the press.

''I think I'm all right, if I can still laugh about it,'' she told invited members of the media at a West London restaurant.

Harrison, who said this was his first press conference since 1974, called the English press ''a bunch of animals.''

He said he liked Penn, who has been accused of spitting at members of the media and punching photographers.

''I like Sean very much,'' Harrison said. ''I don't see him like you. I see him like an actor. He's a human being and very nice - a good actor.''

Set during 1938, Harrison's film casts Madonna as a bleached blonde missionary in search of an opium stash. Her 24-year-old husband plays a streetwise tie salesman.

In response to charges that she and Penn had been usurping director Jim Goddard's control, Madonna said, ''I don't tell anybody anything. I suggest things, and so does Sean.''

Harrison, who is co-executive producer with Denis O'Brien of Britain's HandMade films, threatened to make future movies outside Britain to avoid press harassment.

''If you like, we'll all go to Australia and make our films there in the future,'' said the former Beatle, who has a split-second part in ''Shanghai Surprise.''

''Stars are actually people,'' he said. ''They're human beings who've become famous.''

And Madonna's final comment on British newspapers: 'I did read them in the beginning, but now it's pointless.''