Next: Is your character likeable to you in the film?
Madonna: Yeah. I do like her. She’s a really nice person. And I think she did the best thing that she could do. I think she made a mistake – she made some silly choices in the end – things that, perhaps, I wouldn’t have done. But in the end I have a lot of compassion for her and I think she behaved in a very humane way.
Next: At this point in your career what have you not done yet that you’re still itching to try?
Madonna: Writing. More writing. I don’t know what shape that would take. I do enjoy writing. I don’t know whether it would be a screenplay, but I think I’d like to do that more.
Next: What would you say you do for a living?
Madonna: I never know what to write down sometimes filling out those cards and things. [Laughs] Sometimes I write ‘singer.’ Sometimes I write ‘actress.’ Sometimes I write ‘mother.’ It depends on the mood I’m in. Sometimes I write ‘entertainer’ and I feel like that sort of covers all the areas.
Next: Have you made professional missteps?
Madonna: I’ve made some mistakes, definitely. But you live and learn. Right? [Laughs] I’m still kicking myself.
Next: Is there a point at which your life could have gone a whole other way where it was so hard continuing to be an entertainer that you thought, ‘Maybe I should just pack it up and move back to Michigan’?
Madonna: No. I’ve never reached that point. [Laughs] It’s got to be pretty bad for me to go back to Michigan. No. I’m just kidding. Attention anybody from Michigan: I didn’t mean anything bad! [Laughs]
Next: How aware are you of your cultural influence on America and the rest of the world?
Madonna: And do you like to play with that concept? Wait a minute. I’m from Michigan and I’m really slow. Say it again.
Next: Well, what you do has a great cultural significance – it has an influence on people.
Next: So, do you like to keep that in mind when you go through your various images and phases?
Madonna: I just like to go – what goes through my mind is much more selfish. Because what you’re talking about is how it affects other people. I always approach every project I do with, ‘What am I going to get out of it? What am I going to learn from it? Is it going to challenge me? Is it going to take me to another place? Am I going to grow from it?’ It always starts there.
Next: The Next Best Thing is a very political project. It makes a strong argument for…
Madonna: What makes up a family?
Next: Yes. And that gay men can be good parents.
Madonna: And that appealed to me greatly . That is why I chose to do the project. That was a big part of my decision. It was that , it was a political statement, it was a chance to work with Rupert, it was a chance to work with John Schlesinger. I mean, it was everything combined.
Next: What did you think about The Next Best Thing when you first saw it?
Madonna: I had very mixed feelings — but I always have mixed feelings when I see a movie that I’ve done for the first time. You know, there are things that I didn’t like about it, there are things I loved about it, there are things that moved me in the story. It’s hard to do that when you watch a movie – that you’re in – for the first time because you can’t really look at it objectively. All you’re thinking about is what you felt like the day that you shot that scene or you think, ‘Why didn’t they use that other take?’ It’s too much to think about really. You have to see it again before you can have a proper reaction to it.