There’s also been some controversy over links between the Kabbalah Centre and your aid group, Raising Malawi. Could you clarify that connection?
Studying Kabbalah has inspired me to understand that the world does not revolve around me. Who knows if I would have become involved [otherwise]? But Raising Malawi is a separate entity utterly consumed with children in sub-Saharan Africa.
Tom Cruise was at a recent fund-raiser. Do you sympathize with him?
I do. I don’t care if people worship turtles or frogs–if they’re good people, that’s all I care about, and he is a good person. I think he gets a raw deal, just as I think the orphans in Malawi get a raw deal, just as I think a lot of marginalized people get a raw deal.
Tell me about your documentary’s director, Nathan Rissman. This is his first film. He’s a friend?
He’s the husband of my nanny, to tell you the truth. When Nathan showed up, it’s like, “Well, he just can’t hang around, he’s got to have a job.” He would make QuickTime movies of my children and e-mail them to me when I was on trips. They were so clever. So when this project came up, it just seemed like a no-brainer. He did everything from gardening to manning the camera for behind-the-scenes B-roll footage. Never did he say, “I’m not going to Starbucks–I’m too good for that.”
You just directed your first movie, too. And you almost sound more excited about film than music.
Yeah, actually. I have a record to promote and that’s great, but I loved going to the Berlin Film Festival–it was the first time in my career that no one asked me a personal question. When you’re a pop star, everyone feels entitled to know what color your underpants are.
Well, on your new album, Hard Candy, you sing about your great sex life with Guy Ritchie. If you made a movie about that, you might get some of those questions.
Well, if they’re in a film [I direct], I won’t be saying those lines, will I?
The video for your new single, “4 Minutes,” is a tease: You and Justin Timberlake almost crawl into bed, then you dance. You mount him, then you dance …
It’s meant to be a tease, you know. You’ve only got four minutes to save the world. There’s no time for frivolous behavior!
So you weren’t mocking this expectation that you would kiss Justin, after famously kissing Britney?
Does that lyric “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” relate to your charity work?
No. It’s about, Do I understand this opinion that I’ve adopted or this Zeitgeist that I’ve allowed myself to be swept up in? Because you could have the best intentions but not have enough information and make huge mistakes …
Which presidential candidate do you think will make the least huge mistakes?
I’m excited about one of the candidates.
But you can’t talk about him because the other one’s husband is in your movie?
That’s not nice … Um … I’m actually a big fan of the Clintons and Obama. There’s me being political–I should run for office!
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