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Madonna Interview : Jane

Madonna - Jane / October 2002

Why Madonna and Guy don’t let the never-ending saga of annoying baby speculation, evil divorce rumors and pissy film critics get them down. Screenplay by Jeff Johnson

Scene one: Guy holds forth from a tidy little bungalow behind the Ritchies’ Beverly Hills mansion, just past the treadmill and the pink Big Wheel in the garage behind the pool. “For a crack,” Guy’s hung a painting of the queen behind his desk. Important family phone numbers and email addresses are tacked up on the wall above the TV, which is playing a DVD of Chinatown.
They started over there with a jackhammer three days ago. But I do like it here. The kids love it. Got the pool. Sun always shines. It’s mellow. The first time I came here, I loved it. Then the wife and I spent six months here, and I think we got sucked in. Somehow you get into a routine of going out and seeing people. And once you’re into that routine, you sort of need to go away for a cleansing period, come back, then remember not to do it again. But it’s mellow when they’re not jackhammering.
Madonna: Unfortunately, they haven’t stopped.
It’s like a holiday. You don’t leave the compound. You read your books. Madonna and I will sit and read for hours. I’ll have a swim, write a bit, take it easy. And there are actors I’m interested in, and they’re always in town, you have them stop by and have a little chitchat. Brad Pitt’s a bit of class. I love him. He was here last night to bring around his gambling debts.
Marriage is big. To me, family and kids is as big as it gets. Lourdes calls me Super Dad. She got a good dad. He’s a good man. So, I get away with just being Super Dad. She’s been with me all her life, since she was, like, one-and-a-half. She’s maybe 6 now. She’s a lot like her mother.
Madonna: I try to teach my children to share, to be generous, to be grateful.
Rocco takes after me. He’s pretty sort of transatlantic. International. I’ve dealt with several messy diapers, and we suffered a few noisy nights, but I don’t think Rocco’s ever had trouble sleeping all the way through.
The truth is, you could derive so much pleasure out of kids that you relegate the downside to nothing. You’re always carried away with the positive aspects of kids. Well, I am anyway. I’m just happy with kids as kids. Do we talk about having more kids? Sure. Do I talk about it with reporters, No.

Scene two: A flashback, when it all began, in which in which Guy attends a fateful dinner party thrown by Trudie Styler.
Madonna was there with her boyfriend at the time. He was sulking. I was trying to impress her. It worked. You have to keep on your toes that you aren’t being affected by the fact that it’s Madonna. You got to watch out that you’re not being sucked in by that. Because, after all she’s flesh and blood, isn’t she? You have to shatter the illusion. I knew we’d get on. We’re quite similar, in the respect that she likes to get in her hour and a half of exercise each day, and I like to get in my hour and a half of exercise each day. She likes to read, and I like to read. That was that.

Madonna - Jane / October 2002

Scene three: The plot thickens, as the media tar, feather, railroad, rumormonger and run the Ritches through the ringer.
There’s a problem with the Brits. I don’t know what it is, but they kick the shit off of anyone who does well. I guess they do it everywhere. It’s so vindictive. The press in the UK has kicked the shit out of Swept Away so far. No one had even seen it there, and every day there was another article about what a terrible movie it is. There was an article by a chap who, by the way, has always blown so much smoke up our ass it’s absurd. And he wrote that this movie will never get released, absolutely awful. He said everyone argued, and we’re gonna get divorced. And they dedicated a page to that. You can warm your hands off the hatred and resentment. I knew we were setting ourselves up for the shit, but in a way it stimulates you to do it.
Madonna’s had the shit kicked on her for years, so it’s not that new to her. I don’t know. We stopped reading papers and stopped watching the telly, so we live in vacuum. And we don’t frankly care if you kick the shit out of us, ’cause we don’t even know about it, and even if we do, it’s funny. It doesn’t mean anything. We all think it does, ’cause we’re all in the game. But the more you drop out of it, the less you care. If you don’t like it you don’t like it. Big deal. So, yeah, we’re expecting, some shrapnel, and I’m sure we’ll catch some, but our heads are down, and it will probably lust go over the top of ’em.
It’s not really hard when you’re married to Madonna. It’s had its moments when it’s been tricky, and I used to react a bit in the beginning. I used to get upset if people came and interrupted us. But we haven’t been hassled much and, mind you, we don’t go out. I like it on our desert island.
Madonna: Fame is only a desert island if you give it a place of importance in your life.
Going out is overrated. I’m as f*cking lame as they come. I am. I’ve got to do jujitsu once a day, it’s the only time I get out of the house. I was tired of going out when I was 18, but you still went out ’cause you had nothing else to do. And you’re still willing to get smashed up. The older l get the less interested I am in all that. So, you know, who knows? I went and saw Road To Perdition, but the people I went with were a lot more famous than me – Brad, Jennifer and Claudia Schiffer. By the way, Sam Mendes – the director – is class.

Scene four: An unexpected plot twist in which Guy and Madonna make a movie near Malta about a rich, pampered bitch named Amber who gets marooned and falls in love with Pepe, a swarthy, tough little fisherman.
Then fate allows Pepe to teach Amber a thing or two.
Madonna saw the original version of Swept Away first, like 20 years ago. And then we made the BMW commercial. Someone saw that and said, “Oh, this reminds me of Swept Away.” So, one night, a friend played it and I wasn’t paying much attention. And then I got hooked the second they got in the dinghy and the engine broke down. I could see what was going to happen. And then I paid attention.
By the time the film had finished, I said, “Someone’s got to remake this movie.” I liked the edge of it. The passion. And Madonna said, “Why don’t you remake it?” I said, “Well, why don’t you be in it?” She went, “All right,” and that was that.
People could say, “Oh, it is just Madonna playing a bitch” – in a way that was what I liked about her as Amber.
But the tricky thing about Madonna is she transcends being an actress because she’s Madonna. And people are always distracted by that. The concept I liked was the segue, where Amber goes from being a dominant bird to being stuck on a desert island. Of course, it’s not like Madonna at all in reality, but Amber’s the quintessential bitch, you know, doing her thing, and then her world flips.
Regarding the violence, I’m not a wife-beater, and I don’t applaud people that do. But somehow in the context of the film, it works. How’s Amber gonna wake up? She doesn’t have to ask Pepe for his help. He says, “You don’t have to come with me, but if you do, you gotta go my way on it.”
And it’s not like he’s a great big geezer either. It’s one thing being hit by Mike Tyson, and it’s another thing being slapped by a scrawny little fisherman. So, I don’t think anyone should get swept away in that.
The ending is where me and the wife disagree.
Madonna loves the idea that Amber and Pepe’s relationship will work.
Madonna: Yes, I believe Amber and Pepe could make it together. Because I belive that both of them underwent a major transformation.
I believe Amber’s still not got a string enough personality. She’ll be recontaminated within her environment before very long. We’ve all met someone that went on holiday, had the most magnificent time, came back and got stuck in the rut again.
Oh, yeah, Madonna thinks Amber would go back home, see the error of her ways and fly out tot Pepe again. If Pepe tried to movie with her, the little fisherman would be f*cked when they got to civilization.
I mean, it could exist if Amber did come and they spent the rest of their life passing around on a desert island, had a few quid in the bank. And what do you need? A small hut, enough to buy your odds and sods, have a couple of kids, and Bob’s your uncle. But once Amber’s fallen back into Manhattan life, the dream will just evaporate. No, no. Pepe can’t go to Manhattan. It could only work if Amber went his way.
Madonna: I’m not saying they wouldn’t be changed, but I’m an optimist and a romantic, and by the time they got off that island they were friends and they had things in common, which are two key ingredients for a successful friendship.

Madonna - Jane / October 2002

Scene five: A happy ending in which the couple continues to do exactly as they please.
The ending in life is not what we think we want, it’s what we need. And Pepe the fisherman, he ends up giving Amber what she needs, as opposed to what she wants, and I think that’s everything in life. We’re all wanted one thing, but we’re not asking for what we need. We’re all asking for what we want, which is nothing that we need.
I think Madonna and I could work together again. I like working with her. She’s a pleasure. She’s a pro. I don’t think she has any desire in going to Malta again, but maybe I could drag the family out there for a couple of months, if I make the war epic I’ve been writing.
Madonna: Guy could get me back to Malta if he built me a house with screens on the windows to keep me out mosquitoes, with a yoga studio, and he could guarantee that I could always get online and there would never be power blackouts.
With Madonna and me, there’s not the slightest problem segueing from husband and wife to director and actor.
You could just fade in and out of what you’re supposed to be doing. To me, a movie’s a team effort.
And it’s not about career for either her or I. No. We’re both giving in the same direction anyway. It’s all about the big picture, so I’m sure wherever one goes, the other will go as well.

Madonna: What is the big picture? Seeing the end in the beginning, receiving for the sake of sharing and world peace. Realizing this one of the amazing things I’ve learned in the last few years.

© Jane