This movie struggled to get past the censor. Do you think that there should be a ratings system?
Yeah, I do. But I think that for the most part there’s a lot of hypocrisy when it comes to ratings in the States, and it’s kind of silly that children are allowed to watch people be killed and blown into little bits, but watching someone make love is considered to be an evil, horrible thing.
The director of Body of Evidence, Uli Edel, said that you said, “no matter how far you go, I’ll be ready to go one step further”. Do you have a sense that that’s now almost required of you?
First of all I want to talk about what Uli said. I never said “I’ll go one step further than you go”. Uli has a big imagination and I’ve told him so. Uli asked Willem and I in the very beginning with the love scenes – with the sex scenes, whatever you want to call them – if we had a problem with them, and I said: “Absolutely, not.” I think they were concerned that when we go into shooting we were going to back down or back away or say we didn’t want to do it. And I said: “No, I’m committing to this movie and I’ll do it.” Do you still want the answer to the question?
Well, that’s in keeping with the perception that you’re willing to expose your body without any problem.
As far as this specific project goes, I felt that the sex scenes and the love scenes were an organic part of the drama and important in the storytelling. I agreed to do it and did it. That’s got nothing to do with my lack of inhibitions.
Was Willem Dafoe more or less inhibited than you?
Strange as it may seem, yes, he was less inhibited. (Giggles) He was really, really, really laid back and comfortable about being on the set with all those people. I think I felt much shyer than he did, but the fact that he felt so at ease probably helped me to relax.
How do you hope you’ll be viewed as a result of this film?
As an actress. That’s it. I hope that they think of me as an actress.
How much do you identify with the statements your character makes about sexuality?
There’s one thing that she says in the course of the movie that I felt could have come out of my mouth, and that’s when she’s in the car with Willem and he says, “people in this town have more conventional views on sex”, something like that. And I say: “That’s not true, they just don’t talk about it.” That’s something that I would say. Everything else is her, not me.
Did you have any influence on the script?
Willem, Uli and I spent a lot of time reworking the script, but I can’t think of any specific lines that I wrote myself. I’m sure everyone thinks I wrote things like “Men lie” and “That’s what I do, I f*ck”, but those were already there… [Grins] I’m sorry to say.
What research did you do?
I watched a lot of courtroom dramas. I also watched Hitchcock movies, and Witness for the Prosecution and film noir of the 40s.
As a very public supporter of gay rights, did the scene in the film where one of the main characters shows he’s ashamed of being gay bother your?
Yeah, that annoyed me. I had a conversation with Uli about that, but he’s the director.
How crucial so you feel the reception of this film is to your acting career?
How crucial? You mean if everybody says that it’s horrible, what will I do? I’ll slit my wrists.
When your book was released the hype provoked a lot of opinions in the press about “good Madonna” versus “bad Madonna” – now there seems to be a media-led Madonna backlash, Do you think this has any real effect on most people’s interest in you?
I think it absolutely does influence public opinion. I think that the people who are threatened by someone being forthcoming about sexuality and, um, reaching sexual liberation, will be swayed if they read articles written by writers who are threatened by it. I’ve found that a lot of people were judging the book before they’ve even read it, before they looked at it, before they got anywhere near it. It would be nice if everybody could listen to my music and watch the movies and read the books, or whatever, without anyone telling them how they should think, or feel, or accept it or not accept it, and then judge for themselves.
If you had to choose between your acting career and your music career, which would you rather stick with?
That’s like asking: “Which child do you like better?” I can’t say. I love them both. I can’t decide.