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After three decades in front of the camera, Madonna has gone behind the scenes to direct her debut film, W.E.
Here, she talks about the love story that inspired her…
Pop icon, actress, children’s author, fashion designer… when Madonna gets an idea in her head, it’s fair to say she runs with it. So, when the star became fascinated with the love story between a British monarch and his American lover, there was only one thing to do — make a film about it.
This week sees the release of her directorial debut, W.E. The film recounts the affair between Edward VIII and US socialite Wallis Simpson, which scandalised the nation and resulted in the king giving up the throne for love. It is interwoven with a modern-day story, where Abbie Cornish plays a New York housewife — called Wally — who becomes obsessed with Wallis’s story.
The project has been a labour of love for Madonna. The star admitted that when the film premiered at the London Film Festival last October, it was the most terrified she’s been in years…
What made you choose Wallis Simpson as the subject of your first film?
When I moved to England after I got married, I really didn’t have any friends. I didn’t know anybody. I found myself in a strange world and I decided that I was going to find out about the history and culture. So, I started studying English history, and reading about the monarchy. When I got to [the story of Edward VIII), I was transfixed by the idea that a man would give up such a powerful position for love. I started reading books about Wallis Simpson, and I found a lot of them to be really negative, and one-dimensional. When women have some kind of power, and we don’t understand them, we have to diminish them.
Is that something you can relate to?
Yes, but I chink people often misunderstand my power and get intimidated by that rather than trying to understand me.
Would you give up your power for love?
Well, I think with all relationships you are going to have to give up something. It is a juggling act, it’s about compromising.