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Madonna’s Evita Diaries : Vanity Fair (November 1996)

Madonna - Vanity Fair / November 1996

This is a diary of sorts: a sketchbook of feelings, ideas and dreams, all relating to one subject – the making of Evita. By the time this movie comes out, I will have been living vicariously through her for two years. I remember sitting down during Christmas of ’94 and writing an impassioned letter to the director, Alan Parker, listing the reasons why I was the only one who could portray her, explaining that only I could understand her passion and her pain. I can honestly say that I did not write this letter of my own free will. It was as if some other force drove my hand across the page.

Soon afterward I heard from Alan and following several nerve-racking meeting the part was mine. This was only the beginning of what turned out to be a great adventure. I could kick myself for not starting my journal then, but there was so little time. I had to learn the score, train my voice, and master the tango before flying to London to record the sound track. Throughout the year I had the most extraordinary experiences, and we hadn’t even begun filming, so the month before shooting began I made a promise to myself that I would write everything down that happened to me. I had butterflies in my stomach and I knew I was in for the ride of my life. I wanted to remember every detail. And so I began…

New York [Saturday, January 13, 1996]:

After a series of delays I’ve finally been given the go-ahead to fly down to Buenos Aires. I desperately need the weeks before filming for rehearsals, wardrobe fittings, and camera tests. But, more important, I need to explore and investigate the myth of Eva Perón. An Argetinean journalist whom I met in London has agreed to meet me in B.A. and arrange interviews with people who knew or worked with Eva, as well as some anti-Peronists. Most are very old and I’m sure a good number will be quite suspiscious of me. I can hardly blame them if the me they know is the one they’ve read about in newspapers. I am prepared to disarm all and get them to share their deepest, darkest secrets about Eva.

Buenos Aires [Saturday, January 20, 1996]:
It’s morning and I’ve just arrived in my hotel. It is grand in a shabby way. High ceilings, big windows, and a lovely balcony. My only complaint is that my room is on the second floor and my fans are outside chanting “Eva/Madonna” and singing the words to my songs. This is very flattering during the day but not so great at night when I’ll be trying to sleep. On the drive from the airport I twice saw graffiti painted on the walls that said ‘Evita lives, get out, Madonna’. How’s that for a welcome? I have also read in the local newspapers that Alan Parker, Antonio Banderas, who plays Che, and myself have been declared personae non gratae, which is a nice way of saying we are dirty rotten scum. Of course this is all coming from a very small group of Peronists who are in desperate need of attention and aren’t really certain what they’re protesting against. I’m sure they’d all come over for tea if I invited them. None of this discourages me.

Buenos Aires [Sunday, January 21, 1996]:
Today I ventured out in the city for a series of interviews with people who knew Evita. The most interesting was with Tuco Paz, who was an Argentinean diplomat for more than 40 years. He met Eva when she was 29 and is the first person to tell me how shy she was. He says that her agressive behaviour was a nervous reaction to how insecure she felt around certain people. He says that she had great character but that many people were bored by her monolithic interest in politics. Nothing else interested her [that’s only because Prada hadn’t started making dresses!]. He said that Juan Perón coached her in public speaking. Perón would sit in a chair and have Eva go behind him and talk to the back of his head. Then he would throw out a series of subjects which she would have to expound on. Perón constantly changed the topic to keep her on her toes. So she wouldn’t be nervous, he would stay with his back to her. For some reason, I was very moved by this story. It seems like a real act of love and caring for him to have taken the time to do this. Tuco’s apartment was lovely – full of old books and beautiful Cubist art. Unfortunately, about 500 screaming fans made my departure next to impossible. The police are not terribly organized down here and I didn’t have enough security, so the three feet I walked from the building to the car were very scary. Somehow I got pulled down to the ground for about three seconds. I managed to crawl into the car and shut the door, only to find that one of my shoes was missing and the heel was broken on the other. They were Versace. Don’t worry. When everyone was in the car we sped away, only to discover that a young girl was holding on to the roof of the car for dear life. So we stopped and pulled her off as she kicked and screamed and cried that she loved me. I wanted to give her the business card of my shrink, but my driver drove away too fast.

Buenos Aires [Monday, January 22, 1996]:
Today I never left my prison cell so as to avoid any riots until the security situation has been worked out. It wasn’t so terrible. It rained all day and the shutters to my bedroom windows kept banging open and shut. I think the spirit of Eva was in my room. A wonderfully well-grommed, fantastic-looking older gentleman named Hector Villanueva came to talk to me. He met Evita when she was 19 and working at a radio station. He says he was very attracted to her, but didn’t do anything about it because he was married. [That doesn’t sound like any men I know.] It seems our dear Evita liked to drink beer and go to boxing matches. A girl after my own heart! He said that her favorite meal was breaded panfried veal with a fried egg on top and French fries. I’m going to try that tomorrow. The only way to eat sensibly in this country is not to eat. The concept of non-fat has not made its way here yet. I’m still trying to get used to my brown contacts, which make me feel dizzy, nauseated, and permanently in the dark. Or maybe this happens when you stay in your hotel room all day. I’ve got to get out more – I’m starting to talk to my dog too much. I could have sworn she said “Mama”.

Buenos Aires [Tuesday, January 23, 1996]:
Today was the day from hell. First, I slept like shit. The children outside my window came at two-hour intervals all through the night to beckon me to the balcony and profess undying love. Shakespeare this was not. And why should they sleep? Everyone is unemployed – no one has to get up and go to work in the morning. The only people making any money are the press and they will go to any extreme to get a picture or any information about me. I sometimes think my phones are tapped, and wonder if every employee in this hotel is on the take. There are camera lenses trained on me at every window and I have hidden everything of value in a secret place because the safe looks suspect. But just because I’m stuck in an uncivilized country doesn’t mean I can’t have a little fun. I was determined to go sight-seeing. We devised an elaborate plan where my assistant, Caresse, would go out in the car I usually ride around in and fake out the fans and the press. The idea was to get everyone to follow my car without me in it. Then I would leave in a van with my bodyguards, and all of us would lie on the floor until the coast was clear. The great news is that it worked and I went on with my sight-seeing trip unhassled. I went to Recoleta, the cemetry where Eva is buried. I have never seen such a beautiful, decadent, haunted place. There were hundreds of wild cats everywhere and each mausoleum was more grand and exquisite than the last – little tiny mansions with windows to view the caskets, which are surrounded by gargoyles and statues and religious paintings and plaques and wreaths and framed photographs. The dead live in style. The bad news is what happended to Caresse. She was arrested and called me on my cell phone from the police station completely hysterical. It seems that the press were furious when they discovered that I was not in the car. Caresse got out of the car and was attacked by paparazzi who proceeded to shove her around and call her a puta. So she told the driver to take her back to the hotel. After they’d gone about a mile, the police pulled her car over and started muttering about a crime which implicated her. Of course, she didn’t have her passport, which in this place is a crime punishable by death. Eventually Luciano, my Argentinean bodyguard, pulled some strings, and five hours later Caresse was returned to us very shaken up. Then we got the rest of the story. In Argentina, anyone can accuse another person of a wrongdoing and have his house or car or person searched. Very often the accused get hauled down to the station before they even know what they’ve done! In this case, some members of the press were apparently trying to frame me. Thank God I wasn’t in that car. They had paid off two teenagers to fall in front of the car when it drove out of the underground driveway, and then they set out in hot pursuit to apprehend the criminal [me, they thought], inform the police, and get some juicy headline news about the famous celebrity who goes around driving over unsuspecting fans. When they discovered that we had duped them they decided to torture Caresse. By the time she arrived at the station they were shouting, “Murderess! Murderess!” I called the producer and my manager and threatened to quit unless they got some secret-service guys down here to beef up security. Otherwise we’ll all be visiting police stations every time the papers want a story. Did I already say how scary it was to be here? I guess this is the closest thing to a dictatorship I’ll ever experience. Did I leave out the part about the horny cop that kept telling Caresse how beautiful she was and running his fingers through her hair?

Buenos Aires [Thursday, January 25, 1996]:
I continue to have bone-crushing entrances and exits whenever I go out. Top-notch security arrives today. Let’s see if that makes a difference. I’ve got to stop reading the papers. I am portrayed either as a stupid c*nt who doesn’t deserve to play Santa Evita or a spoiled American movie star who has no interest in the truth. There are people who appreciate what I’m trying to do here, but they’re not very vocal. Kindness is timid and evil is a ham. Went to a cocktail party last night and collected everybody’s germs. The custom here is to kiss everyone hello instead of shaking hands. Was too tired to write. And too grouchy!

Buenos Aires [Friday, January 26, 1996]:
Went to dinner with the cinematographer of the movie. His name is Darius Khondji and he’s incredibly talented and completely lovable. We had a long discussion about how there needs to be more unity on the film and how people have to stop being negative and complaining about being here. Of course, that’s easy for him to say – people don’t jump him and attempt to rip off his clothes and strangle him every time he tries to go outside. Still, he has a good point in that there needs to be more positivity and togetherness among the people making this film or we will never survive the shoot. I came home feeling very upbeat, but the phone rang and it was Freddy, my manager, telling me that it was in the news in the U.S. that I was receving death threats and that I must immediately come home. He doesn’t understand that all Latinos exaggerate and are all over the top. If only people would report the good things. For instance, the Old Guard whom I have met have all spoken to the press, and there have been a lot of favorable articles. I think the tide is gradually turning. President Menem may finally agree to meet with me. I didn’t come all the way to Buenos Aires to sing “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” on a soundstage. I told Freddy to relax, put in my earplugs, and went to sleep.

Madonna - Vanity Fair / November 1996

Buenos Aires [Saturday, January 27, 1996]:
Dreamt last night that there was going to be a big earthquake and it was going to destroy the world. I ran around trying to pack my suitcases but stopped when I realized I really wouldn’t need to pack. Met with a brilliant Argentinian historian named Jose Luis Peco, who spoke to me for three hours about Argentinean hirstory and the Peronist movement. Wonderful man, but he kept getting up to go to the bathroom. Maybe he only has one kidney. Later on I had drinks with Plácido Domingo, who was very charming and said he had turned down Alan Parker’s offer to play Perón. After speaking to me for 20 minutes he said he regretted saying no. Latin men were put on earth to charm women. And torture them! Later: Did makeup and hair tests and finally settled on a brown wig for the younger Eva that didn’t make me look like a cocker spaniel. Agaist the wishes of my security I went out on my balcony and waved to about 500 screaming fans. I blew them several kisses and saw the tears in their eyes and it almost made me cry. I thought if I went out and waved to them they might be less ferocious when I go out to dinner. We shall see.

Buenos Aires [Sunday, January 28, 1996]:
Finally slept last night – deeply and sweetly. Of course, I wasn’t in my room. I’ve been sleeping in a room the size of a broom closet upstairs to avoid the noise in my suite. Sneaked out this morning in what I thought was a disguise to walk around the street fairs of San Telmo. People recognized me and stared but no one attacked me. Nevertheless, I felt uncomfortable and after an hour of being gawked at I came back to my hotel prison and sulked. I needed some peace and quiet.

Buenos Aires [Tuesday, January 30, 1996]:
I seem to have misplaced a diary entry. Or else I’ve misplaced a day, which isn’t difficult to do in this godforsaken place. Every day is a new and interesting form of chaos. Yesterday my trainer arrived and thank God. It would be very easy to get an enourmously fat ass on this shoot, as there are no gyms and no decent food. I made a solemn promise to myself to start eating better, but every time I go to a meeting or an interview, someone whips out the trays of croissants and petits fours and bonbons and I’m so hungry I’m forced to inhale a few. Etiquette alone demands that you at least sample the lard sandwiches. I went to the National Library with Xavier Fernandez, a die-hard Peronist and very charming man. The library was built on the exact same spot where the Peróns lived and where Evita died. I asked the director of the library where the house went. It seems the Argentineans, in their true hotheaded fashion, demolished the house brick by brick until there was nothing left but dirt! This, of course, did not happen until Eva died and Perón had fallen out of favor and fled the country. [It’s very easy to fall out of favor here.] Years later when Peronism was fashinable again, the National Library was built as a sort of memorial to Evita, and there’s an enormous amount of research material pertaining to her there. Another glaring example of the fickleness of thois country. First she’s a queen and she lives in a palace, then she dies and you’re assassinated if you speak her name. Finally, years later she’s a saint who can do no wrong. The library director is a true man of letters. We talked about Pablo Neruda and Gabriel García Márquez and then discussed cinema: Renoir, Godard, Rossellini, and Visconti. Whew! I had a butter sandwich and a chocolate truffle and ran off to a cocktail party to mingle with the cre`me de la cre`me of B.A. Ha! As I walked in the door, hoping for champagne, I was served a glass of warm water which tasted like it had been chlorinated. Met the British ambassador and lots of radio and television personalities and the man who owns all the soccer teams. There were a few rakish-looking young men with very long hair and lust in their eyes, and I think I was supposed to take one of them home with me, but I was too tired to be shallow, so at 10:30 I bid everyone adieu and ran into the elevator with my escort, Victor Alfaro. Of course, I had to pose for a zillion photographs before I left. I felt very empty rifing down in that elevator. I suddenly missed my friends terribly. Couldn’t sleep again and I went to work with puffy eyes and a sheet-lined face.

Buenos Aires [Wednesday, January 31, 1996]:

Slept in silence at last. I moved upstairs to the top floor. It’s not much bigger than the broom closet but at least I can’t hear the fans screaming on the street. Forgot to mention that I met with the chief of police and his first lieutenant. Two very charming and handsome men – what else is new? They assured me that they were going to look after me and that I shouldn’t worry about death threats. What, me worry? We discussed Peronism and of course Evita and how her enemines were divided into two camps, the aristocracy and the communists. The lieutenant said he admired Evita but he was not a Peronist. Then he said the most amazing thing – that people were angry with Evita in her day for the same reason they are angry with me today. That we are women with success and power. Then we began discussing reincarnation and he started quoting Oscar Wilde. Something about art imitating life. I was quite stunned, for his macho appearance did not prepare me for his sensitive and perceptive point of view. Don’t judge a federal policeman by his uniform! Tonight I am having a drink with Constancio Vigil, supposedly Menem’s best friend. We shall see!

Buenos Aires [Thursday, February 1, 1996]:
Woke up exhausted from my dreams. I was defending myself. Trying to stay alive. Fighting for… what? I splashed cold water on my face, looked into the mirror, and noticed a red indentation in my forehead. A wound received in my nocturnal battle. Did I unconsciously hurt myself? This must be a result of the conversation I had with Constancio, who tried to explain to me why the president cannot agree to a meeting with me. Yet. Of course, he didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know, and I must say it was a bit of an insult to discover that the president has had lunch with Claudia Schiffer and entertained the Rolling Stones and he is not free to meet with me. Once again this proves my point that if you have an opinion or stand for something in this world you are considered a threat. Something to be feared. We discussed politics in this country and how, by privatizing industries, Menem is trying to undo the damages that Perón did. I asked why he calls himself a Peronist if in fact his policies are so different. His answer was that he was doing what Perón would do if he were in office now. Good answer. This is why we call them politicians. I spent the rest of the conversation defending myself and the choices I’ve made in my career. I often say I have no regrets, but I suppose in the end I do. If I had known that I would be so universally misunderstood, maybe I wouldn’t have been so rebellious and outspoken. I never thought I’d say these words, but I am so tired of having to explain myself and I am so tired of being told, “You’re so intelligent! Not what I expected at all!” Could an idiot have come this far in life? I wonder if I could ever have been the kind of sweet, submissive, feminine girl that the entire world idealizes. I’m trying to stay positive, but I felt like crying all day. I’m so sick of seeing unflattering paparazzi photos of myself in magazines and newspapers. They find the ugliest ones and blow them up just to torture me. There’s a really good one where it looks like my security guard is grabbing my breast. My hair is completely messed up and I look like I just received shock treatment. Charming. All through my fittings and my rehearsals I felt like the homely girl at the dance whom nobody wanted to dance with. Darius came over to have dinner with me and he was depressed, too. A friend of his was killed in a car accident. We tried to cheer each other up. He calls me Lola Spaghetti and I call him Mr. Basmati. He makes me laugh.

Buenos Aires [Friday, February 2, 1996]:
Dreamt last night that Sharon Stone invited me to her house because she wanted to know me better. I went, with some suspicion, and when I arrived she was taking a bath with a red dress on and all her makeup. Then we heard voices outside and the doorbell rang and Sharon immediately submerged her face under the water to prove to me that she didn’t care if people saw her looking bad. When I opened the door Courtney Love was standing there in a torn dress, waving a gun at me and slurring her words: “I know you guys are in there – I’m going to shoot you both”. Then she bursts out laughing, saying it was only a joke. My dog started barking and woke me up. Thank God. Another reason not to take Xanax to sleep. I’m so tired today. At dance rehearsals I worked with four tango dancers, or milongueros, and they each scared me in a different way. Three were older and funny-looking. One was younger and funny-looking. I thought I was a pretty decent tango dancer until I danced with these guys. The older ones were patient, but the younger one kept trying to show off and he was wearing too much cologne. I love to tango, but I need to practice more, so I’m going dancing with them all on Sunday night. Tonight I have another top-secret meeting with Constancio. I hope he’s going to bring good news about the president. Tomorrow, Antonio Banderas arrives. The press is trying to make a big deal about my competing with his girlfriend, which is ludicrous because everyone knows I would never date a man who wears cowboy boots.

Buenos Aires [Sunday, February 4, 1996]:
What a night! I decided to have a cocktail party and invite the Old Guard, whom I have been courting for the past two weeks, as a thank-you. I wanted Alan Parker to meet them as well, so I invited him and the rest of the creative team working on the movie. Wardrobe, Hair, Makeup, Production Design, etc., etc. I had it in one of the ornate old ballrooms on the first floor and put up one of the paintings I had found in San Telmo on the fireplace mantel, lit candles everywhere, and turned off all lights. Mambo and tango music music played in the background. Very romantic. At one point Vince Paterson, the choreographer, asked me to dance a mambo with him, and the floor cleared and we showed those old Argentineans a thing or two. This made me homesick for Miami. I love to dance to mambo music. PS: The president has agreed to meet with me wednesday evening on an island off the coast. Apparently we can go only by boat or helicopter. It’s all very hush-hush.

Buenos Aires [Monday, February 5, 1996]:
I’m sick to my stomach and I’m having the chills. Is it because I got up at the crack of dawn after two hours of sleep? Is it because I ate an entire box of graham crackers in 10 minutes? Is it because the press conference is tomorrow and I have butterflies in my stomach? Or is it because of the cholera epidemic that slowly making its way into town? Whatever it is, I hope it goes away. I have enough to worry about. Tomorrow I have to face the conservative minority who are violently opposed to the making of this film. They’re going to ask me stupid questions. They are going to be rude, reactionary, and ignorant. They’re going to ask me if I am a Catholic and if I wear underwear and if I’m a lonely person. Yes. Yes. Sometimes.

Buenos Aires [Tuesday, February 6, 1996]:
Thank God that’s over with. A press conference is worth 100 trips to the dentist. My heart was pounding so loudly I was sure the whole room was hearing it. It wasn’t as bad as expected. Only a few cranky questions from a few women who looked like they didn’t have enough love in their lives. Jonathan Pryce, who plays Juan Perón, was very witty. Several very good-looking boys sat in the front row blowing me kisses and mouthing the words “I love you”. This cheered me up immensely. I continue to read negative press from around the world, including the U.S., that somehow still manages to hurt my feelings. I will never get used to the hostility that comes from fear and envy. That basic human desire that most people have to see another person fail. On a good note David Caddick, the music director, whom I adore, has arrived and I’m going out to dinner with him. I’m so excited to see him! Oh yeah, a choir chame to sing to me outside my window. It sounded beautiful.

Buenos Aires [Thursday, February 8, 1996]:
Last night I dreamed of Evita. I was not outside watching her. I was her. I felt her sadness and her restlessness. I felt hungry and unsatisfied and in a hurry. Just as I had earlier in the helicopter, suspended over the earth, on the way to meet President Menem. As I gazed down on all of B.A., my mind started drifting, I tried to imagine how I would react and what I would do if, like Evita, I knew I had cancer and I was dying. I could finally understand the feverish pace at which Evita lived during her last few years. She wanted her life to matter. She didn’t have time for bureaucracies of government. She needed results. The idea of death is not so horrible if one can leave behind a legacy, and Eva did not want to be remembered as a girl from the sticks, or a B actress, or the wife of the president. She wanted to be remembered for her godness. The desire of someone who has lived her life completely misunderstood. President Menem was very charming. I was surprised at how much I liked him. Our helicopter landed on the grounds of a beautiful estate in the middle of the delta in El Tiagre. Hundreds of flamingos scattered out of our way. As I walked toward the president [small, defiant, and tan] a baby deer came up to me and nuzzled my side as if to say, “Don’t be nervous, you are welcome here.” It was like a fairy tale. He was surrounded by very suspicious-looking men and a very pretty and formal older woman who had acted as our translator. We sat down immediately, his eyes going over every inch of me, looking right trough me. A very seductive man. I noticed that he had small feet and dyes his hair black. He told me that I looked just like Evita, whom he had met when he was a very young man. We talked about how fanatical I had become about knowing absolutely everything about her. He did not take his eyes off me. The mosquitos started to devour us, so we went inside. The kind man who owned the house brought our champagne and caviar, which I couldn’t resist, and I decided to play Menem some of the music from the movie so he could understand the mood of what we are trying to accomplish. When I played him the new song [You Must Love Me], which Eva sings to Perón when she finds out she is dying, I could see a tear fall from his eye. I noticed that two men followed Menem everywhere, catering to his very need. They seem to be completely in love with the president. They had very bad hairdos and kept eyeing me suspiciously. I caught Menem looking at my bra strap, which was showing ever so slightly. He contiued doing this throughout the evening with his piercing eyes, and when I caught him staring, his eyes stayed with me. We started to talk about reincarnation and God and psychic phenomena and he said he believed in the power of magic. He said one always has to have faith in the things that cannot be explained. Like God. And I thought of a line from The Alchemist that goes something like “If you want something bad enough the whole earth conspires to help you get it.” And I took a deep breath and said, “Yes, that’s why I believe that you will change your mind and allow us to film on the balcony of the Casa Rosada.” The whole table went quiet and he looked at me for a moment and said, “Anything is possible.” My heart was in my shoe. Then the owner said it was time for dinner, and the president stood up and asked me if I wanted to wash my hands. I thought it was a rather strange question, but I figured he was a hygiene freak or something. Maybe I looked dirty. Maybe he wanted me to leave the room so he could talk about me. I spent a good deal of time snooping around in the bathroom and checking out the décor of the second floor. I must have been up there for at least 15 minutes and when I came downstairs the men were all standing around the table waiting for me to sit down. The president pulled out my chair, and when I sat, everyone else sat. Chivalry is not dead! Dinner was strangely bland, but the conversation was not. We talked about everything from Mao Tse-Tung to mambo. At 11, we all ran out to the helicopter, waiting for us like a giant insect. The president took my face in his hands, kissed me on both cheeks, and wished me good luck. We flew away and I was floating inside of the cabin the whole way home. He had worked his magic on me. I can only hope I did the same.

Buenos Aires [Friday, February 9, 1996]:

There are no words to describe the weariness I feel today. I have not slept well in days, and even when I do, there is no comfort. My dreams are violent and full of betrayal. Like my life, there is no escape. I feel the weight of the responsibility of this film. I cannot talk about Evita and her life without defending myself. I am watched whereever I go. Criticized for being outspoken and ridiculed for staying quiet. Inside my head there is never silence. I feel at any moment that I could break. I want to cry for all the sadness in the world, but mostly my own. Dear God, what have I gotten myself into? What is happening to me?

Madonna - Vanity Fair / November 1996

Buenos Aires [Sunday, February 11, 1996]:
Yesterday, with much planning, I managed to escape for the day lying down in the back of a truck with a blanket over me. Once we were outside the city limits, I could sit in the front of the car and enjoy the countryside going by. No police escort, no bodyguards, no cameras, no noise. I was on my way to a private ranch owned by the company that is distributing our movie in Argentina. My driver was one of the partners in the company, and he happens to be a polo player who owns many polo horses. After driving for an hour we ended up on a narrow dirt road which led to a series of farms and ranches. We stopped at the last one. When I got out of the truck, six of the dirtiest dogs jumped all over me, covering me with mud. Children belonging to the caretakers were laughing in the distance and the flatlands streched out as far as the eye could see. Cows were grazing in the fields and beautiful shiny polo horses were posed like statues all around me. It was like a dream. One I never wanted to leave. The house itself was a standard pueoble ranch with an inviting porch that went all the way around it and the comforting shade of some very old trees. I was perfectly content to sit on the porch and watch caretakers feed the horses and rake the leaves. To do nothing, to not be watched, to be anonymous. After much urging by one of the caretakers I summoned up the courage to get on one of the horses. Satin pants and Prada shoes are hardly appropriate riding apparel. Nevertheless I managed to walk and eventually ride a very slow trot. I imagined myself galloping through the countryside at full speed without care in the world, the wind in my hair. I thought to myself, I could have this life if I wanted it. Children and a husband waiting to have lunch with me. And then I remembered I had about eight months of work ahead of me. A girl can dream, can’t she?

Buenos Aires [Monday, February 12, 1996]:
Today I met the actress who plays my mother in the film and I love her. She’s an old soul and she’s been hurt, but she’s a survivor. Her English is as good as my Spanish, but we speak the language of hurt people, so all is understood. She told me about a dream she had recently. I was a child and I was pressing my head against her belly, and when I looked up, there was a golden light around my head. Then I told her I wanted to go back inside of her womb and I began to cry. If only she knew how close to the truth this is. Maybe she does. Mis lágrimas son para ti. Recuerdo el suen~o! Then she gave me a beautiful antique emerald ring she was wearing. There was a demonstration in my honor yesterday afternoon. All of my fans got together and marched from the Obelisco [a monument in the middle of the Avenida Nueve de Julio] all the way to my hotel. When they arrived they chanted “Eva” / “Madonna” for a while, then they had 10 minutes of silence. Then they started to play “Like A Prayer”, and at this point I went out on the balcony and waved and blew kisses and almost started to cry. My life is surreal down here. I have given up on sleep and happiness as I know it. There is something else to be learned here. Tomorrow is my first day of shooting as the young Eva and I am beyond nervous.

Buenos Aires [Tuesday, February 13, 1996]:

I made it through the first day of filming after spending most of the day inhaling poisonous smoke billowing from an ancient train, scraping dirt from the inside of my contacts, and eating enourmous amounts of dust. It was dry. It was hot. There was dust. Everywhere. The first half of the day was fun and easy. Saying my good-byes to my family at the train station on my way to the big city. I love all the actresses playing my sisters. Two are English and one is Cuban and I’ve grown attached to them that it was not difficult to imagine how sad I would be to leave them. We finished the scne by lunchtime and all the actors left and took the fun with them. The rest of the day I sat on the train with a lot of strange extras [none of them spoke English] and reacted to the passing scenery over and over again from every angle, inside and out. The only problem besides the fact that I was dying from heat exhaustion and was being made a meal of ants, flies, and hornets was that the scenery was dull and lifeless and there was nothing to look at. Yes, I know this is where the acting comes in… Alan didn’t seem to notice the heat or the flies. In fact, I’d never seem him so excited and alive. It wasn’t until the last shot of the day that I realized why it was so important to shoot the movie here. We were doing a wide shot of my train whizzing across the countryside and 20 gauchos came galloping through the frame over the prairie as the sun went down. I have never seen such a majestic sight. Still, the day ended for me in an anticlimatic way. I went from extreme anxiety and nervoussness to elation and then to boredom and self-doubt. I kept saying to myself over and over again, “When is something really exciting going to happen to me!” I think I may have even said it loud a few times while we rolled back and forth on the dusty tracks, just me and the extras. I’m sure they all thought I was mad. And it isn’t until now, as I write this, that I realize that that’s surely what Eva must have been saying to herself as she left her dusty little village on her way to a better life. Little did she know. Little did I know.

Buenos Aires [Thursday, February 15, 1996]:
Valentine’s Day came and went and I scored very low in the valentine department. Receiving flowers from my accountant is not my idea of romance. I am mistrustful of flowers from people who make a percentage of my gross income. Today’s work was a lot more fun because we actually got to shoot a scene where people were talking/singing to each other. I had to flirt with lots of men, dance the tango, and leave the owner of a magazine for the owner of a soap company. Is this moving up? I’m not sure. At least I will be clean all the time. This is the part of the script I find a little dodgy. The implication that Eva slept her way to the top. I guess I am even more offended by it because people always imply that about me. It’s a way for envious people to undermine your strength and your accomplishments. My wig feels like a vise grip on my head. I have decided that acting in movies is a very humiliating job. People sit around all day, turning you from left to right, whispering behind the camera, cutting your nose hairs, plucking stray eyebrow hairs, and patting down your sweat while they fill in the lines on your face with Spackle. When they are setting up the next shot, you are told to go and wait in your trailer like a good little doggy and this is where you have an ample time to be hypercritical of yourself. You wonder if you’re pretty enough or good enough or thin enough or attractive enough and you inevitably feel like a slab of beef. Rare, medium, or well done. It doesn’t matter as long as peole want to eat you.

Buenos Aires [Saturday, February 17, 1996]:
The last days of shooting have gone by without too much fanfare. Yesterday we watched a polo match with the aristocrats and I was little more than set dressing. I have never felt heat from the sun with such intensity. Today I had to be up at the crack of dawn for one hour of good light on the sidewalk between eight and nine A.M. Then I spent the rest of the day for the next good light, which was at five P.M. I went a bit crazy and started making up dance routines a` la Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. My dressing room was inside an old courthouse which had stained-glass windows and high ceilings. It really looked more like a church, but it had lots of good stairs and pillars to dance around, and for hours I pretended I was in the Ziegfeld Follies.

Buenos Aires [Monday, February 19, 1996]:
Today is my first day off in a week and I am practically catatonic. I am finally in sync with the U.S., where it is Presidents’ Day and everyone has the day off. Why do we celebrate the men who rule our nation when we ultimately have only contempt for them? Went to dinner with David Caddick and my movie family and we entertained ourselves with imitations of Jodie Foster in Nell and gossip about who’s sleeping with whom on the set of the movie. Which is just about everyone. It’s a real soap opera and I hoard and relish the secrets I have been told about various philandering husbands and so-and-so’s boyfriend, who’s sleeping with so-and-so’s sister. For some reason people feel the need to confess things to me. It must be my trustworthy face. After dinner we went to a milonga club so I could brush up on my tango. When we walked in, it looked like we were entering a bingo game. There was folding tables and chairs around a big empty space, fabulous fluorescent lighting, and no one under the age of 60. Lots of strech pants, gold lamé, and sequins. It was a scene straight out of GoodFellas. The only thing missing was Joe Pesci.

Buenos Aires [Wednesday, February 21, 1996]:
Perhaps I have been bitten by a tsetse fly. I have an uncontrollable urge to sleep from the moment I wake up to the moment it is actually permissable. My insomnia has reserved itself. The heat makes me lethargic, and the endless sitting around and waiting, which I will never get used to, make me feel like a body that has been deserted. Today I wanted to cry from frustration. We’ve been shooting all week in a beautiful old school, and for security reasons my makeup, hair, and wardrobe are all in the principal’s office, which is very posh and ritzy-looking. High ceilings and old master paintings on the walls. Giant leather chairs and Venetian chandeliers. I would have gotten myself sent to the principal’s office all the time if this had been what I had to look forward to. There are balconies and marble staircases everywhere and a huge science room that looks like a museum of natural history. It’s hard to imagine small children running around in the hallways. I spent my free time looking at stuffed mammals and ancient artifacts, but nothing could distract me from my feeling of uselessness. I call this photo-opportunity week. We are shooting several montage sequences of Eva doing her charity work. So all day long I am handing out shoes and bicycles and medicine to poor children and posing for cameras. There is no dialogue – just a lot of kissing and hugging and costume changes. Snore. Speaking of balconies, we have been formally invited to an audience with the president at his private residence. We will grovel if we must.

Buenos Aires [Thursday, February 22, 1996]:
Last night I dreamed that I was pursuing a director I was once in love with and he invited me into his home to tell me that he couldn’t be with me. I sat at his kitchen table on the verge of tears. Then he said to me, “You once described a man’s body as powerful. What is your definition of power now?” and I replied, “Power is being told you are not loved and not being destroyed by it.”

Buenos Aires [Friday, February 23, 1996]:

It’s raining cats and dogs and as much as I love the idea of a day off I was disappointed when most of the day’s work was canceled. It was my first scene where I give a speech to the workers from the back of a truck while Peron is in prison. I was all psyched and ready to emit a little fire and brimstone, but Mother Nature is not cooperating with us today. We did have a lively little chat with Menem at his private residence. It was not as much fun as the first meeting. Alan, Antonio, and Jonathan were there, and it was much more formal. Alan was basically reiterating what he had said in the press conference about having freedom as artists, and everyone was being very polite and I couldn’t take it anymore. So in the middle of the discussion about pizza I said, ” When we’re done talking about pizza can we talk about balconies?” And Menem said that he was sure there would be no problem if we used it and any other government building we wanted. I was ready to jump for joy, but Alan shot me down by saying that we’d already spent so much money on a replica of it in London that financially it wouldn’t make sense to shoot here. Not to mention the fact that we did not have the proper lighting equipment. But hadn’t the reason for the meetings been to convince him to let us shoot on the balcony? And what an honor and a thrill to be able to stand there looking down on that plaza at night filled with all those people, singing “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina.” Hopefully, Alan will change his mind. I will consult the stars and work my voodoo. Forgot to mention Menem’s daughter, Zulemita, who also attended the meeting. A thin wisp of a girl who seemed very fragile and very sad. She held her father’s hand through the entire meeting and they kissed and whispered things to each other in a very intimate way. I was mesmerized by them.

Buenos Aires [Saturday, February 24, 1996]:
Woke up this morning with tears streaming down my face and a wet pillowcase. I dreamed that I was Evita and I was watching the finished version of the movie we are making in a screening room all by myself. As I watched the film I realized for the first time that I was dead and I began to cry and soon I was choking on my own tears and sobbing violently and then I woke up.

Buenos Aires [Monday, February 26, 1996]:
The last two days were night shoots and I woke up both mornings feeling ravaged. Unlike everyone in this city, I am not a night person. My body rejects the idea of being ordered around and following directions at after midnight. We filmed in La Boca district, which was once a very chic area, but in the 20s yellow fever swept the neighborhood and the rich moved to another part of town, making way for an onslaught of Italian immigrants. Today it is still inhabited by poor immigrants who showed they were not happy to have us there by throwing rocks. We had to work around them and I spent the night listening to catcalls and dirty old men throwing me kisses and making lurid propositions. There were children everywhere begging for money and between takes they would swoop down like birds on the tables outside the cafés where the extras were sitting and gobble up all the food and run away. I have to say I found myself rooting them on.

Buenos Aires [Wednesday, February 28, 1996]:
As I descended further into this labyrinth called movie making I am stunned by the number of possibilities for feeling lonely and alienated. While I have become more and more accepted by the Argentineans, I feel increasingly more cut off from the rest of the world. I rarely speak to my friends and when I do I find it impossible to share what I I am experiencing. In the beginning I received letters and care packages all the time. Now I come home and my fax machine is empty and there are no phone messages. My family and friends are the people in the movie. They have seen me bare my soul and yet they know nothing about me. There is a kind of shyness that occurs when someone is required to be extremely vulnerable in front of complete strangers. When you are lonely you notice things that you otherwise wouldn’t. Like the cricket in my room. I don’t know how she got in and I cannot see her, but I know she’s here to warn me that it’s going to be another blisteringly hot day. Perhaps it will rain.

Buenos Aires [Saturday, March 2, 1996]:
I am so disappointed. I have just seen the shooting schedule for our last two weeks in Argentina and we will not be shooting on the balcony of the Casa Rosada. Now I will have to settle for a set on a soundstage looking at a bunch of crew guys and they will film my P.O.V. of the crowd in Budapest. I hate settling. Why should we settle when we have the real thing? Today we filmed in the shantytown which doubles for the village I leave to go to the big city. It’s right next door to a slaughterhouse and all day we had to smell the rotting decay of animal flesh. We were told that the diseased cows are not slaughtered but instead cooked in a giant vat of boiling water. What we smell is the remainder of the bones and fat cooking. At first we all felt like retching. Then we got used to it. It’s amazing what you can adapt to when you have no choice.

Buenos Aires [Tuesday, March 5, 1996]:
Friday has come to visit me and brought me massive amounts of caramel corn, Fiddle Faddle, peanut brittle, and licorice whips. This is by the way, fairly reliable way to get to do things I’m not keen on doing. Which is exactly what I did yesterday. A video on my day off! I’m so immersed in the life of Eva Peron and the movie music that I could not remember the words to my own song, no matter how many times I tried. It felt funny to be me with green eyes, hair down, and Gucci caftan. I consciously rejected the idea of being me. I am on strike. I am temporarily laid off, I do not exist until movie is finished. But I did enjoy my candy.

Buenos Aires [Wednesday, March 6, 1996]:
Last night there was a full moon. But I didn’t need an excuse to feel violent, hostile, and unusually aggressive. Yesterday I snapped when the producer arrived to ask me for the millionth time if I would move out of my hotel because we were going past shooting schedule here and the rooms had been previously booked. He wants me to move to some shit hole next door. Of course I told him what he could do with his request and he walked away mumbling something about hotel’s having squatters. Squatters? At this point I wanted to rip my hair out, but I couldn’t, as I was wearing a wig. I shoot six days a week and rehearse on my days off. I have done enough campaigning to win a local government election and I do it gladly in the name of the movie. The least they could do is stop trying to push me around like I am an extra. Then to add insult to injury they saved my close- up till the last shot of the day, after midnight, in the 12th hour of shooting, which is not a nice thing to do to a lady. I should have refused. My makeup was cracking off, the lace to my brunette wig had been glued on one time too many and it wouldn’t lie flat against my head, and I could barely keep my eyes open. Darius kept looking at me and shaking his head and suddenly I burst into tears. I was going to walk off the set, but I took a deep breath and agreed to go back into the trailer and make one last attempt. We ended up cutting off all the downy blond hair that grows around my hairline and now I look like Bette Davis in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex. We finished the shot and on my way out I was informed that we may be filming the balcony of the Casa Rosada this weekend. Meaning two days from now. Meaning I am not prepared. Meaning, Oh shit!!

Buenos Aires [Thursday, March 7, 1996]:

Yesterday I was finally and formally invited for a drink to the home of Mrs. Fortabat, on of the wealthiest women in B.A. and certainly on of the most clever. She is very good friends with the president, and I am told she is considered a saint by the labor-union leaders because she has been so generous to them. What really interested me was her art collection, which my dealer in New York insisted was amazing. For weeks she hesitated to meet with me, either because her deceased husband was a devout anti Peronist or because she thought I would bring a torrent of photographers with me. Mrs. Fortabat’s building was surrounded by what seemed to be a secret service police, who whisked me out of my car, then silently led me into the building and up a private elevator, which opened directly into her apartment. It was all very Mission: Impossible. This beautifully coiffed, elegantly dressed woman greeted me, kissed my cheek, and said that she hoped I hadn’t come to talk about Eva Peron. I said I was there to see her art and she seemed relieved. She led me through rooms decorated in Louis XVI style until we reached the main sitting room which had the most breathtaking view of the city and the El Tigre River that I had seen. We sat down to talk there and I tried in vain not to be distracted by the Légers and Mirós around us. We talked about Frida Kahlo, whom we both adore, and she invited me to her apartment in New York City, where her Kahlos are. She insisted I called her Amalita and went on to talk about her late husband, who she was sure he died of anti-Peronism. She, on the other hand, quite liked Evita and spoke about her in a very loving way. Amalita told me that she once had a very good masseuse, the best in B.A., and one day Juan Duarte, Eva’s brother, came to visit and inquire about the masseuse and see if he could borrow her services. It was not for Eva, who was very ill at the time, but for his mother, Dona Juana. Apparently the mother and the masseuse became friends and Dona Juana confided a great many things about Evita, which the masseuse told Amalita. When Evita was very ill and confined to her bed, Perón forbade any visitors except for immediate family. He himself rarely visited, because he could not stand the smell of her room, her body, her cancer. He would merely open the door and wave and she would invite him in and he would say he had things to do and would come back later, and one night Eva woke up from a bad dream and got out go bed to go to the Perón’s room because she was scared. They had slept in separate bedrooms for several years. When she woke him up, he smelled her and shouted, “Get out of my room, get that thing out of here!” I almost cried when I heard this story, but Amalita went on. Peron knew how instrumental Evita was to his popularity and it was he who decided, before she died, to have her body put on display after her death. He wanted her to look good, but she was losing weight and starting to deteriorate, so he talked to a mortician and they decided they would have to start injecting her with chemical concoctions which would preserve her organs and flesh. God only knows what effect the injections must have had. To make matters worse, she was not allowed any painkillers, because they would have interfered with the preservation process, so I can only imagine how she must have suffered. I was disgusted by this whole story and Peron’s cruelty and it was hard for me to enjoy the rest of the evening. Amalita told me that my skin was like Evita’s. She said that Evita did not have a good body or nice legs, but she had a beautiful face and she knew how to dress. Then she said that Evita had the sweetness of revenge running through her veins.

Madonna - Vanity Fair / November 1996

Buenos Aires [Sunday, March 10, 1996]:
Last night was like a dream and yet it happened so easily and effortlessly I have to keep pinching myself to make sure that I haven’t imagined it. Last night I walked out on the balcony of the Casa Rosada in front of thousands of people and sang “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina.” In the exact place she had stood so many times before, I raised my arms and looked into the hungry eyes of humanity, and at that moment I felt her enter my body like a heat missile, starting with my feet, traveling up my spine, and flying out my fingertips, into the air, out to the people, and back up to heaven. Afterwards I could not speak and I was so happy. But I felt a great sadness too. Because she is haunting me.
She is pushing me to feel things. When you want something bad enough the whole earth conspires to help you get it.

Buenos Aires [Tuesday, March 12, 1996]:
I dreamed one of my teeth felt loose and I wiggled it and it fell out of my mouth. Then I felt the rest of my teeth and they all started to break off and fall out of my mouth. I went to the doctor’s and asked what was wrong with me and he said it was one of the first signs of cancer.

Buenos Aires [Friday, March 15, 1996]:
Today is my last day of shooting in B.A.. My room is a mountain of suitcases and the unloved remains of things I have acquired but do not want to take. I thought this day would never come and now she’s here and I’m a bit sad, but not too sad, for I feel like I have accomplished everything I set out to do and then some. Yes, I have suffered, but not in vain. I do wonder why the Argentineans made such a fuss. No one protested when I was on the balcony. No anger. No vicious journalism. I think they just wanted to see how far I was willing to crawl and beg for something. They obviously don’t know me. I do feel like I have earned a modicum of respect here. Like anything important in life it must be earned.

New York [Tuesday, March 19, 1996]:
When we got off the plane in America I kissed the ground. God, I felt good to be home. I spent three uninterrupted days of bliss in Miami and here is why I feel guilty: I rode my bike and took my boat out to see the dolphins and buried my nose in my gardenia bushes and watched the Tyson fight and stayed in my nightgown all day and had acupuncture and read Shakespeare’s love sonnets and ate ice cream. All very un-Evita- like behaviour, but I needed to remind myself that I had a life before her. I’ve stopped off in New York to prepare myself for the cold and gray of Budapest and get in a few dance rehearsals and of course shop. I hope it was not a mistake to come here. I don’t want to get too far away from the movie. Mind, body, and spirit must stay focused. In any case, Evita did like to go shopping, so I’m not straying too far. Am I?

Budapest [Monday, March 25, 1996]:
I cannot wear any of my new frocks in Budapest. There’s still a chill in the air and not a hint of spring. I’ve been sneezing all morning and tomorrow we’re shooting a scene outside and all I’ll be wearing is a simple summer dress. Last week- heat, exhaustion, and sunburn. This week- pneumonia. The one good thing about the cold is that your hair doesn’t grow as fast, so I won’t have to shave my legs often. What can I say about Budapest? The architecture is beautiful, and if you squint your eyes it feels like Paris. My hotel, on the other hand, is a big, modern glass monstrosity run by Germans. I reserve judgment until further exploration. Oh dear, that’s not like me.

Budapest [Tuesday, March 26, 1996]:

I am in a jet-lag stupor. So tired my skin hurts. I couldn’t sleep last night and even the freezing temperature on the set did not wake me up. I had to march through mud puddles with steelworkers and my feet were wet and frozen. It’s hard to look happy and lively when your teeth are chattering. I pray to God it warms up or I’m in for some real suffering. I wonder if anyone paid any attention to the fact that it’s wintertime and almost everything we’re shooting is an exterior. But these decisions are made by people who get to walk around in warm parkas all day long. I think I’m going to protest. I’m not getting paid enough to suffer hypothermia. The extras are a morbid bunch. No sense of humor. I don’t blame them- it’s so damn bleak here.

Budapest [Thursday, March 28, 1996]:
Between the layers of silk thermals and the hot chocolate I was guzzling to stay warm I could hardly fit into my costume last night. After midnight the wind kicked up and it was so bitterly cold that the only thing that got me through the evening was my desert visualization and chanting my mantra. Fortunately, we were shooting the scene were I faint and I’m carried down a hundred steps by my brother. I did not have to pretend to be unconscious. The cold did it for me. The good news is that I finished all my work last night and I have this evening off. It’s Antonio’s turn to freeze. The sun was out in the afternoon and we walked to an old coffeehouse built at the turn of the century and gorged ourselves on more hot chocolate and wonderful cakes and marzipan. Then we walked to the river and looked at all the castles on the hill and the beautiful House of Parliament. When people recognized me they kept their distance and even the fans following me were polite and shy. It was all very pleasant and civilized. I don’t feel like a trapped prisoner.

Budapest [Sunday, March 31, 1996]:
Today is Palm Sunday. We went to a beautiful Gothic church called Matthias or Holy Mother Church. Seven hundred years old. Gorgeous. We went after a service and there was a sort of choral practice going on. Four singers singing in French with and organist and a cello player. I could have spent hours there smelling the incense and staring at the painted ceilings. The music filled up the entire church, which was decorated with beautiful mosaic tiles and Baroque trimmings. I lit a candle and prayed for the movie to go well and the sun to come out and the bishop to stop torturing me. We are trying to get permission to shoot a scene in a basilica, but it seems a certain holier-than-thou bishop won’t allow it because he doesn’t approve of my behavior. I wonder if he would let 75 percent of his parishioners in his church if he knew what they did in their spare time. Now it’s news all over the world that I’m causing problems in Budapest. The bishop will not let me in his church. I am a bad girl. A fallen woman. A sinner. If I gave him an autographed picture he would probably change his mind. The bishop can kiss my ass. I’m not groveling for one more person in the name of this movie. There is no more skin left on my knees. I will never apologize for my behavior. Neither would Evita.

Budapest [Wednesday, April 3, 1996]:
Woke up sideways on the bed, tangled in my sheets and slightly nauseated from too much dreaming. Too many trips to the ugly side of my
unconscious. I went to sleep in a bad mood. I’m not sure what I was most upset about. The fact that I never know what we’re shooting from day to day because of the weather? The fact that I was on my feet for 14 hours with and irritated sciatic nerve? Pain like lighting bolts shoot down my leg. Today I spend the day in the hospital bed being told that I am dying. This will not be a stretch.

Budapest [Thursday, April 4, 1996]:
Yesterday was a real cryfest. I spent the entire day horizontal. First in the operating room, where I felt like I was doing an ER episode, and then in the hospital bed being told that I have cancer. I kept thinking about how my mother must have felt with my father when he told her that she was dying. And how she stayed so cheerful and never gave in to her sadness even at the end. This brought on the flood of tears throughout the entire day. But Jonathan cried more than I did. He had gotten some upsetting news and he was a mess before we started shooting. He cried before, during, and after takes. Sometimes he would sneak off to the side and face the wall and sob. His whole body was racked with tears. Sometimes I cried in reaction to his obvious grief. I thought maybe something had happened to his wife or his children, but he only looked at me when the camera was rolling, so I couldn’t ask. Clearly he didn’t want to talk about it.

Budapest [Saturday, April 6, 1996]:
Yesterday was Good Friday and I thought about my mother again, how she would cover up all the religious pictures and statues in the house with purple cloth. Until Christ rose from the dead. I thought it a bizarre ritual but quite beautiful. Easter has always been my favorite holiday. New hats, new buds on the trees, Easter-egg hunts, and chocolate. I’m trying to get into the spirit here, but it’s difficult. If only the sun would shine or a bird would sing. The movie is going along smoothly and we’re getting things done, but I feel as if time has stopped. Like we’re all in a holding pattern. What is not in a holding pattern is the baby growing inside of me. I have known for three weeks, and while I am ecstatic, I was so afraid of how it might affect the movie [my other baby] that I couldn’t even write about it. But I must face the facts and tell Production because my costumes are starting not to fit and I’m becoming very self-conscious about my body. Not to mention the fact that there are at least six more weeks of shooting and some big dance scenes to be filmed in England at the end of the schedule. Alan already knows. I told him after I got to New York and went to the doctor’s. I really never suspected for a moment that I might be pregnant. I often missed periods when I’m stressed, traveling, working too hard, or not sleeping. I was stunned when I saw on the ultrasound a tiny living creature spinning around in my womb. Tap-dancing, I think. Waving its tiny arms around and trying to suck its thumb. I could have sworn I heard it laughing. The pure and joyful laughter of a child. As if to say, “Ha-ha, I fooled you!” I heard its heartbeat and immediately fell in love. And then I became panic-stricken. I decided to tell only a handful of people: my assistant, my trainer, and Carlos, of course. I live in fear of the press’s finding out. Not because I’m ashamed of anything, but they will send their camera crews to torture me and I’m desperate to finish filming in peace, as I am sure everyone else is. I haven’t ever told my best friends or my sisters. I had hoped to keep it secret until the end of shooting , but I don’t think this will be possible. Of course, they could always get a body double for all my dance sequences [like Jennifer Beals in Flashdance], but the idea of someone else doing my dancing is repulsive. I’m three months pregnant and I’ve got about four more weeks of barely hiding it. Oh please, dear God, let them change the schedule and let me get through this and still be great and not wreak havoc on the movie. I promise I’ll be good.

Budapest [Easter Sunday, 1996]:
There is a God. The sun is shining, and looking out my window I swear I see a patch of green. Today I will try not to worry about anything. I will try not to be too homesick. Too fatalistic. I will not read any Dorothy Parker. All my friends have sent me care packages, and I intend to gorge myself on foie gras, caviar, and Cadbury’s Creme Eggs, though I’d better be careful or that bun in my oven will turn into a loaf.

Budapest [Wednesday, April 10, 1996]:
The last few days have been extremely worrisome. We’ve been shooting what will look like a documentary footage from the famous Rainbow tour, when Evita went to Europe as a goodwill ambassador. She was very well received in Spain and Italy, but when she got to France things started to go wrong. There were anti-Peronist demonstrations, and she had eggs and bricks thrown at her car and crowds chanted, ” Whore, go home!” I didn’t have to try very hard to imagine how she felt, and perhaps all this negative behavior toward my character is getting to me. Too close to home. Being pregnant should be cheering me up, it’s not. I keep having this nagging feeling that I’m going to destroy what we’ve all work so hard to accomplish. More and more people are starting to find out because Alan has to explain to the producers and the art department why he wants such drastic changes in the shooting schedule. Everyone’s scrambling and being very sweet and supportive, but I feel guilty that I’m inconveniencing people. I feel like a 14 year old who is trying to hide the fact that she is pregnant from her parents. It makes me feel like I have something to be ashamed of. The people that do know congratulate me when they find out, but this embarrasses me. Why? Haven’t figured this out yet. I feel like we are all in a race against time. How will I do all those glamorous photo shoots to promote the film when I can’t even fit into my costumes? What will the press do when they find out? I keep looking into the mirror expecting to see that glow of pregnancy and all I see are dark circles under my eyes and acne. I should be happy end excited, but instead I am scared. Some days I even feel trapped, but they say this is normal, I’m sure all of this would be easier if Carlos was here. Thank God he arrives next week. This is not exactly how I envisioned starting a family.

Budapest [Sunday, April 14, 1996]:
Woke up with a stomachache. Did not sleep nearly enough. We worked late last night in extremely cold weather. Marching up and down Heroe’s Square, leading the workers, who were carrying torches and singing for Persón’s freedom, for rights for the working class, for all Argentina. I came home and crawled under every blanket I could find, but I just couldn’t seem to get warm enough. I heard that the extras revolted after I left because of the cold and started burning banners and signs with the kerosene torches. I don’t blame them. I would have done the same thing.

Budapest [Monday, April 15, 1996]:
Last night was hell. On my feet for 14 hours, mostly dancing. We filmed in a huge museum that had a beautiful ballroom. Of course the building was ancient and there was no heat. Lighting was minimal, so we stayed cold. Antonio still doesn’t know I’m pregnant and he keeps asking me what I think of different baby names that he and Melanie like. I just try to hold my stomach in. Who am I trying to kid? At the end of the dance I fall to the ground clutching my cancer-riddled womb, crying and cursing God for making me so vulnerable. Over and over again for what seemed like a million takes. I am covered in bruises from falling, and the floor was icy cold, but it was worth it. I know it’s going to be a very moving scene. I was bitching and moaning all night, but secretly I was proud of myself and excited. I felt for a moment the potential of this film.

Madonna - Vanity Fair / November 1996

Budapest [Wednesday, April 17, 1996]:
Well, the world knows and I feel like my insides had been ripped open. The front page of the Post, CNN, even Hungarian radio. What’s the big deal? Don’t millions of women get pregnant everyday? Most of the reaction has been positive, but I wish everyone would just let me do my work. Some people have suggested that I have done this for shock value. These are comments only a man would make. It’s much too difficult to be pregnant and bring a child into this world to do it for the whimsical or provocative reasons. There are also speculations that I used the father as a stud service. Implying that I am not capable of having a real relationship. I realize these are all comments made by persons who cannot live with the idea that something good is happening to me. Something special and wonderful that they cannot spoil. I have been avoiding all my friends’ calls because I know I will be berated for keeping it a secret for so long. They will want to know when and where and how and what my plans for the future are, and I haven’t got a clue. I mustn’t think about these things, but I do anyway, which only frustrates me because I haven’t got any answers. In any case, I have to resist the inclination to want to be taken care of. I must remain independent and strong in order to finish this film. Today I am going to call my father and tell him the rumors are true for a change. I hope he’ll be happy.

Budapest [Saturday, April 20, 1996]:
I’ve just spent the last two days doing a Vanity Fair photo session by day and the movie at night. Burning the candle at both ends, so to speak. Not a good idea when you are almost fourth months pregnant. When you’re paranoid and neurotic every little twinge you feel is a signal that you’re about to have a miscarriage. I have been able to fall asleep only on my stomach my entire life and now that I am pregnant I am trying to learn to sleep on my side. Still, every morning I wake up with my face down on the mattress and I’m sure I have broken my baby’s nose. I’m always tired and cranky. Ironically, this feeling of vulnerability and weakness is helping me in the movie. I’m sure Evita felt this way every day of her life once she discovered she was ill.

Budapest [Wednesday, April 24, 1996]:
Thank God we’re leaving in five days. My call time has been delayed and I’m sitting in my room with smoke coming out my ears. I just wrote a letter of outrage to the boss with the applesauce, Andy Vajna, as I am sick of being made to feel grateful for being allowed to be in this movie. Production screwed up and forgot to make reservations in London near the soundstage where we’ll be shooting and now either I have to stay in a crappy hotel an hour away from work or I can rent a house for the month. But because it is last minute it’s more expensive and production refuses to pay the extra. So basically I have no place to stay in London. I don’t like to be petty about money, but in the end it’s about respect. I know comparing myself with other actors and how they are treated gets me nowhere, but I feel like I am being taken advantage of.

Budapest [Friday, April 26, 1996]:

That giddy feeling is back. Two more days of shooting in Budapest! I feel like I’ve survived yet another war. My second tour of duty. Building strength as I go. But I’m afraid I’ve acquired a world-weary look in my eyes that may never go away. Spring is thawing out the universe. It’s sure to be warmer in London and Andy has agreed to the house in Holland Park. Maybe he’s not such a bad guy after all.

Budapest [Sunday, April 28, 1996]:
Last night I dreamt again about my teeth falling out and I tried to disguise my problem with the teeth I wear in the movie. I was embarrassed and frightened that this was a sign of a more serious health problem. Why do I keep dreaming about death? What do I have to be worried about? Today is our last day of filming in Budapest and I should be a very happy girl. Last night I had a celebration dinner with Jonathan Pryce and Jimmy Nail, who plays Magaldi, the tango singer who takes Eva to Buenos Aires for the first time. We had Thai food and it was spicy and fragrant and I ate too much and went home with a stomachache. There was a lovely Merlot that I sampled and I was longing for a glass of it, but I don’t want to add fetal alcohol syndrome to my list of worries. Have also been craving martinis. Maybe it’s the olives, she said wistfully.

London [Tuesday, April 30, 1996]:
I’m sitting in the living room of my cozy new home in Holland Park. There’s a bust of Mozart as a boy on my desk and a fire roaring in the fireplace. The front window is shaded by an ancient magnolia tree and there’s a garden in the back which I hope to be spending some time in when it gets a bit warmer. Doesn’t it sound cozy? It wasn’t when we got here, but Caresse and I have beaten it in to submission. When we arrived there was no heat, no towels, no television, and no fax. Worst of all, only one phone line. How could a girl survive such primitive circumstances? We have since rectified most of the unpleasantness. This of course required several threatening phone calls to owner and realtor. A friend of mine has donated some Pratesi linens and finally I can sleep without scratching myself to death from harsh hotel detergents. The woman who owns the house is an interior decorator who believes that a well-furnished room has no empty space. We have cleared out some of the over stuffed couches and chairs, but we’re not going to touch the artwork, which covers every inch of wall space and adds up to exactly nothing. It’s frightening to think that her husband is the chairman of Christie’s International. Still, I can’t complain. It’s not a hotel and I can make my own damn cup of coffee. I was bewildered as to why the owners would rent their house out for a month and move into another one in the city, until the jackhammers started at 7:30 A.M. Maybe that’s why they wanted to rent out the house. The house next door is being renovated and we will be awakened every morning by a chorus of pounding, scrapping, and drilling for the next four weeks. I considered going outside this morning and giving the workers a piece of my mind, but I didn’t think I’d be too convincing in my flannel pj’s and zit medicine. Why is God punishing me again? Had a great dance rehearsal for the big dance number we’re shooting on Friday. Tomorrow we show it to Alan. I hope he likes it.

London [Friday, May 3, 1996]:
Woke up this morning feeling like a truck had run over me. My insomnia has resurfaced the last few nights and I’m trying to figure out why. Is it because a certain disgusting basketball player I made the mistake of going out with deciding to publish an autobiography and devoted a whole chapter to what it was like to have sex with me? Complete with made-up dialogue that even a bad porno writer would not take credit for. It’s so silly I ‘m sure no on will take it seriously, but I don’t feel like reading the headlines, and of course I feel exploited once again by someone I trusted and let in to my life. Maybe it’s the not-humanly-possible shooting schedule or because I miss my dog. We had to send her back to the States because of the stupid quarantine laws in this country. Today is the first day of shooting at Shepperton and it’s all dancing and I’m worried about my tummy showing and I’m worried I’ll be too tired to get through the
day and I’m worried that the corner of Xanax I’ve nibbled on the last two nights is going to deform my baby for sure. Dear God, please let this day go smoothly and please let me sleep tonight. And please let my baby be O.K.

London [Monday, May 6, 1996]:
I survived the weekend, but just barely. We filmed a scene where Magaldi brings me to the big city and we go to a cantina and I end up in the arms of several men, dancing and whooping it up. Enjoying my new freedom and showing off. I was winded after every take and had to lie down on a couch every 10 minutes so I could recover from dizzy spells. I was worried that I was shaking the baby around too much and that I would injure it in some way. The second day I started getting a cramping feeling and I got worried, so a very comforting Indian doctor came to the set to examine me. When I could hear my baby’s heart beating, I was instantly reassured. I spent the rest of the weekend feeling guilty about working too hard and apologizing to my unborn child for any anxiety and uncomfortable bouncing around I was causing it. Today I am having amniocentesis and I’ve never been more scared in my life.

London [Tuesday, May 7, 1996]:
I am writing today as therapy. As damage control. To keep from crying out or destroying something. Women who are educated, women you call themselves feminists, women who are gay and have the nerve to attack me in the press and say that my choice to have a baby and not be married is contributing to the destruction of the nuclear family. Camille Paglia, a notoriously gay feminist and journalist, went as far as to imply that I had a child out of wedlock because I’m unable to bond with a man and that the public is justified in being outraged because people are concerned for the welfare of the child. They are afraid that I will raise my baby [a la Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest] all alone in a dark mansion. There are discussions and arguments in editorial columns all over the US concerning my status as a single mother and whether I am a good role model for young girls. Does anyone complain that neither Susan Sarandon nor Goldie Hawn is married to the father of her children? Who said a word when Woody Allen and Mia Farrow had a child and continued to live across the park from each other? Why are these people not expected to be rolemodels? Why are these things never an issue with men? I believe that most people would be more comfortable if I got married and the marriage failed. I believe that divorce is more socially acceptable than single motherhood or being honest about your future. What a hypocritical society we live in! But the surprising thing is how sexist women are. On a good note, I survived my amniocentesis, though I won’t pretend it was painless. The doctor was very comforting and we watched the baby move around for a while before invading its space with a seven inch needle. For the first time I felt fiercely protective, like a mother with her cub. He put the needle in with out numbing the area, which really hurt. Then I proceeded to dig a hole in Caresse’s hand with my nails while the doctor withdrew the amniotic fluid. Instead of bumping into the needle, which was what I feared, the baby instinctively moved away from it and raised its hand into little fists to hide its face. For some reason this gave me relief. When the procedure was finished we tried to determine the baby’s sex by moving the camera between its legs, but it showed its complete and utter annoyance with the intrusion by turning away from the camera and refusing to give up any information. A girl/boy after my own heart.

London [Thursday, May 9, 1996]:
I am so tired. I’ve been getting up all week at six A.M., which isn’t such a bad idea considering that an hour later the jackhammers next door will start up and send me running out of my bed anyway. It’s also good because it allows for 45 minutes on my Lifecycle or Stairmaster before going off to work in the hope that I will avoid water retention and weight gain and that my costumes will continue to fit. Production seems more chaotic than ever – a last minute scramble to fit everything in. There never seems to be enough time to finish our work each day without going into serious overtime. In addition to this, journalists from a number of publications have been frequenting the set like birds of prey, writing on their little pads and looking away nervously when they make eye contact with me. It causes me to feel so paranoid. They intrude into our private world; they don’t understand that our silly behavior or emotional outbursts are a result of exhaustion. It’s tedious to constantly edit everything that comes out of your mouth for fear that you will be misquoted or, worse, misunderstood. This one writer in particular [from Vogue magazine] has me feeling really very nervous. We had a long interview on my day off while I was recovering from the giant needle invasion. I thought that things went well, we had a long philosophical discussions about everything from motherhood to being Catholic to fearing death. Not exactly exchanging pleasantries. She spent the next day on the set, asking several members of the cast and crew if they thought I was intelligent. Now, I know I didn’t sound like an idiot the day before, but I guess she was so surprised she had to go around asking people to verify her findings. Needless to say, she did not endear herself to me. I’m trying to think when I turned against her. It was probably when she asked me what method of birth control I used after I told her that I didn’t discover I was pregnant until my eleventh week. The astonished look on her face when I told her it was none of her business leads me to believe that she will not be kind.

London [Saturday, May 11, 1996]:

Two weeks left of filming and the discomforts of being pregnant and the future demands of motherhood are becoming my sole preoccupation. I know I have every right to be distracted by these things, yet I feel guilty. I need to stay focused and hang on for two more weeks. I have some very important scenes coming up. In fact, the most important scenes in the film have been very sadistically saved for the last two weeks of filming. I need to hunker down with my nose to the grindstone. Not give in to thinking about where I’m going to have my baby and where I want it to go to school and what the results of the amnio test are going to be. You know, trivial things. People ask me if I’ve gone shopping for baby clothes or thought about names and I stare blankly at them, thinking, Oh yeah, mothers do these sorts of things, but I feel I cannot give in to this sort of gooey sentimentality until I have breathed Eva’s last breath. I mustn’t be unfaithful to her. I even hide the numerous books I have on being pregnant and having children from friends and coworkers lest they think I’ve turned into some weepy domesticated female.

London [Sunday, May 12, 1996]:
Today is Mother’s Day and as usual I’m depressed. I always get sad around this time of year for the obvious reasons. I long to know the sensation of having a mother to hug or to call up and say conspiratorial things to about how difficult men are, or to simply share my joy with. This year I am even sadder because I’m sure she would be the happiest to know that I am having a baby. But God works in mysterious ways, for I received several gifts on the set of the movie today. I was giving an angry speech to a group of union leaders in my office when I felt the baby kick for the first time. I had to resist the temptation to hold my belly and laugh out loud. It had to remain my delicious and lovely secret. There I was in a room full of suits and cigars and mustaches, pounding my fists on the desk and feeling like some kind of deranged monster, and my beautiful baby kicked me in the side as if to say, “Happy Mother’s Day!” Then later on, we were shooting a scene in my office, where I meet with poor people and promise things like houses and bicycles and jobs, and three of the sweetest little girls who were extras, decided to attach themselves to me. They were all about eight or nine years old and they were so affectionate and the would anxiously grab my hands and smother me kisses in-between takes. On the longer breaks they told me about their cats and dogs and horrible brothers and what they wanted to be when they grew up. They saddest and most forlorn of the group [her name was Levi] said she wanted to be like me. Figures. By the end of the day I was madly in love with her and when we had to say good-bye she said she wished I were her mother and my eyes welled up with tears. I’m such a sap. In two weeks I’ll be back on a plane flying away from all this lunacy with the only thing that really matters growing inside of me. Carlos has been very sweet and supportive on the phone. Today he sent me flowers.

London [Tuesday, May 14, 1996]:
Today I died a thousands deaths. Take after painful take. I was a wreck, even off-camera. My movie family was there, with Jonathan holding my hand, and the entire room was a snot factory all day. The work we are doing now is so hard and so intense and I am so profoundly tired. The most complicated things I can think about outside of the movie are along the lines of whether I should remove my belly button ring now or later and what nationality I want the nanny to be. God, I feel so old and worn out. If someone came into the room right now he would see a sagging, gray haired hunchbacked old lady and say, “Jeez, I didn’t know women could bear children in their 80s!” Yep, that’s me. Old before my time.

London [Thursday, May 16, 1996]:
I’ve developed a strange nervous-stomach condition that causes so much pain that sometimes I have to lie down in the middle of a scene. Everyone chalks it up to my being pregnant, but I know the real reason is that I don’t get enough sleep and my nerves are shot. Throw in the anxiety of waiting for the results of the amnio test and you have the makings of what feels like an ulcer. I alternate between swilling Mylanta and sipping ginger tea. This movie is destroying my body. This baby is, well, not destroying my body but altering it beyond recognition. Even my complaining is boring me.

London [Saturday, May 18, 1996]:
I’ve been waiting in my dressing room for hours to do my close ups of the famous balcony scene. In a moment of panic I called my voice teacher, Joan Leder, for an emergency voice lesson in case I had to sing live. The lesson went great even though we did it on the speakerphone with her two year old screaming in the background. I’ve dreaded shooting this scene in the way I dreaded singing the song in the studio. It’s like throwing a New Year’s Eve party. You know everyone’s coming to have the time of their life and you’re just so sure you’re going to disappoint them. I can’t take the pressure. The fact that they are making me wait is torture. I’m trying to feel nonchalant, but it’s not working. It reminds me of when I was a little girl and I’d get into some sort of silly trouble and my stepmother would give a me a wooden spoon and tell me to go upstairs and wait in her room with the door closed and she would come up later to spank me. Later: Well, I did it and it wasn’t so bad after all. The twenty extras who were hired for me to react to were poor substitutes for the enthusiastic Argentineans, so I asked Alan if we could fill the room with people working on the movie. In a matter of minutes all my favorite crew members, secretaries, runners, security guards, and miscellaneous children were standing below my balcony beaming up at me. I felt so much love and support in the room that I forgot we we not in Argentina. For the first time I thought, We truly are a family, and I realized I had grown to love each and every member of our traveling circus. Even the ones who got on my nerves. My faith in the humanity has been restored.

London [Monday, May 20, 1996]:
I slept a luxurious seven hours last night. I still feel like my eyeballs had been dug out of their sockets, but at least I have the day off. Last night my fans caused a bit of a riot in front of my house. There’s an old stone wall that surrounds the front yard and it has a ledge halfway up that is in a serious state of decay. My fans have gotten into the habit of hoisting themselves up onto this ledge to peer inside the grounds. Last night when I returned from work they all jumped on the ledge at once and pulled the whole damn thing over in one resounding thud. I made it safely into the house and let my security guards deal with the problem, but all I could think about was how irate the owners would be and how they probably threaten me with a lawsuit, so I better call the police and fill out a police report. Then they started arguing about whose fault it was. One of the girls called another girl a nigger and then two other girls jumped the girl who said the n-word and pretty soon there was an all-girl rumbling in the rubble. Eventually the police showed up. I thought these kind of things happened only at rock concerts and soccer matches. Why don’t they leave me alone? Today I get the results of my amnio. I have eaten all the skin off the inside of my mouth. Later: The results of the amnio are back and the baby is fine and a female and I am deliriously happy! Thank you, God.

London [Thursday, May 23, 1996]:
It’s getting harder and harder to write in my journal. Every day is so full and there’s never enough time. There are no easy days at work. I realize now that this whole movie was scheduled around the availability of locations and the construction of sets. This is, in fact, how most movies are scheduled, but it’s completely unfair to the actors. The intensity of the scenes we’ve been shooting and the amount of emotional work and concentration that is needed to get through the day are so mentally and physically exhausting that I’m sure I will need to be institutionalized when it’s over. I understand now why most actors are alcoholics, drug addicts, or Scientologists. Yesterday was my movie family’s last day of work. We all cried when we said good-bye.

London [Friday, May 24, 1996]:

Not knowing what our last day of shooting is going to be makes me feel so incredibly helpless and anxiety-ridden. Lady Hinlip, our very aristocratic landlady, is throwing us out of her house in five days. Will I spend my last days of shooting as a homeless vagrant? At this point I am positively allergic to hotels and there is a lovely park with some nice benches for sleeping right down the street.

London [Sunday, May 26, 1996]:
Work is so ugh! We’re crawling through the last days. The crew alternates between complete exhaustion and absolute giddiness. Alan walks around looking shattered. Today he put his head on my shoulder for several minutes and I petted him like he was my little puppy. Sometimes he can be so damn sweet. Jonathan, Jimmy, and Antonio are all wrapped now, so it’s just me and the boys. I’ve become very accident-prone lately. I slipped and fell rushing to the elevator in a scene we were shooting, then, later on, I slammed my fingers in the elevator door. Tonight my arms are covered with bruises from being manhandled by the military police. Dare I say it? I am tired of being her.

London [Monday, May 27, 1996]:
Today is a bank holiday in London. The streets are dead and the skies are gray. My supposed fans are out of school and making all sorts of irritating noises in front of my house. Normally a day like this would put me in the foulest of moods. But today I am grinning like the Cheshire cat. Tomorrow is our last day of shooting! Hooray! Granted it will be a long day, probably 18 hours, but who cares? Today I’ve got enough adrenaline pumping through my veins to run a marathon. I’m powering through this house stuffing suitcases and throwing out unwanted excess like there’ s no tomorrow. Every once in awhile I catch myself laughing out loud. For no particular reason. I need a whole new suitcase for all the baby clothes that I’ve acquired. My daughter is going to be the best-dressed girl in the world. Tonight I’m going out to a farewell dinner with several members of cast and crew. We’re going to exchange gifts and bitch and moan for the last time. Ain’t life grand?

New York [Wednesday, May 29, 1996]:
I’m home finally. I tried in vain to write a closing journal entry on my last day of shooting, but we did not finish filming until four A.M. in the morning and then the long good-byes and the long drive home and the last-minute packing, and before I knew it, it was time to leave for the airport. I thought the end would be so much more emotional. I envisioned myself breaking down completely when Alan yelled, “That’s a wrap!” I’d rehearsed a whole good-bye speech that I would deliver while I sobbed and shivered in the cold, damp London night, but all at once it was over and all I felt was numbness. Granted my eyes were burning form the special-effects smoke, and my legs felt like lead weights from standing on them for 16 hours. So what if my fingers were frozen and my belly was straining against my suit and I felt like puking. I wanted it all to end in a big crescendo. I wanted to hear trumpets and angels heralding my bravery. I wanted cast and crew members to flock to me imploring me to stay in touch. I wanted to throw myself on the ground and drown in my tears. But I was just too damn tired. And so was everyone else. Alan and I gave each other a long bear hug, but I know I’ll be seeing plenty more of him when we mix the record and do all the final dubbing. For me, work on the film isn’t truly over, but the endless traveling and long hours of filming are. It ended just in the nick of time. I couldn’t have taken one more minute of it. I can’t believe I wont have to spend three hours each day doing my hair in elaborate braids and 40s rolls. I can’t believe I won’t have to paint my nails red and wear false teeth. I can’ t believe I don’t have to get up at six A.M. tomorrow or yell at Gallagher, the second assistant director, about my call time in my pretend angry voice. And Darius, whom I’ve grown to love as a brother. Who called me Moushka and Mouse Head and Lou-Lou and made faces at me until I laughed every morning. I shall miss him terribly.

I’m in a state of shock. I think it will take me months to recover and a very long time before I’m able to digest all that has happened to me these past five months. Everything is different now.

My life will never be the same.

Have I solved the riddle of Evita? Have I answered all the burning questions? Why was her country so passionately divided, for her and against her? Why did she evoke such a strong response in people, then and now? Was she good or bad? Innocent or manipulative? I’m still not sure, but I know one thing – I have grown to love her.

She was a human being with hopes and dreams and human frailties. I hope and pray that people will see that when they watch the movie.

I’ve tried my best. There’s nothing more that I can do. It’s time to move on to the next chapter in my life.

Evita has left the building.

© Vanity Fair

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