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Madonna Interview : W Magazine

Despite being a mother of two, with several mansions and a record label to worry about — in addition to sessions at West Hollywood’s Kabbalah Learning Center several nights a week to pursue her ongoing studies in Jewish mysticism — Madonna remains, she insists, a rebel.

Madonna - W Magazine / April 2003

“Because what is a rebel? It’s someone who thinks outside the box — someone who doesn’t subscribe to any program. Besides, I think the Kabbalah is very punk rock. It teaches you that you are responsible for everything. We don’t realize there’s a bigger system at work. Everything that comes to you is for a reason. And I think that’s really revolutionary, because we are not trained to think that in our society.”

Another of Kabbalah’s lessons, she adds, is the power of words — and the negative energy of gossip. And no one seems to have more gossip swirling around her than Madonna. “If we truly believed,” she says, “that every act of denigrating somebody is a small form of murder — the negative energy you create by talking badly about somebody — we’d never do it again. Because all anybody does anymore is slag everybody off. That’s American life. That’s our media. And isn’t it important to speak up against?”

Some speculated it was precisely this sort of negative energy that Madonna was seeking to avoid when she skipped the Golden Globe Awards, where her theme song from the James Bond movie Die Another Day was nominated for Best Song. Elton john, who was to have been seated next to her, claimed she begged off to avoid running into him after he publicly called the song “the worst Bond tune of all time.”

Madonna sighs upon being asked about this. “Every once in a while,” she admits, “you do get caught up in that — Oh, they said about me? You feel that twinge. But then I snap out of it and think, Oh who gives a shit? That’s when I’m reminded I need to stay focused on my spiritual studies.”

The real reason she didn’t go to the Golden Globes? “I wanted to hang out with my kids,” she says. “On my list of priorities, it wasn’t that important. I have a hard time with awards shows. We spend far too much time making popularity contests, and not enough time caring about each other. They’re just dumb. They’re just fashion shows and ratings for TV, and they don’t mean anything.”

Boldly pressing forward through a veritable asteroid belt of negative energy, we speed-chat through the rest of recent Madonna rumors.

On prepping a movie musical: “Yes, I’m working on a musical project. It’s already been written and it’s totally original. The director and I have put together a creative team, and we’re working on getting financing right now.”

On why she giggled upon meeting Queen Elizabeth at the premiere of Die Another Day: “Well, there’s nothing to say, really. I met the Queen.”

On whether she spent the last week of photographer Herb Ritts’ life at his bedside: “Yes. He was a friend. That’s what friends are for. Herb was a good egg. He didn’t want people to know he was sick — he didn’t want them to feel sorry for him. He just got on with his life. He was a very shy guy and didn’t do the fabulous thing. Like a lot of other photographers who shall go unnamed.”

On supposedly hating London: “I’ve already said this — I love London. And I live there a good part of the year.”

On the debacle of Swept Away: “My husband and I set out to make a small movie, with not a lot of people involved, about power and politics within male-female relationships. People wanted it to fail before it came out. And people wrote bad things about it that permeated people’s consciousness. And that’s how it goes. Would I work with him again? Sure.”

On Frida, the biopic she’d once hoped to star in. “I didn’t like it. Not at all. I think Salma Hayek did a great job, but I still think ultimately the soul of Frida Kahlo nobody knows. The movie doesn’t even scratch the surface of who she was and what she went through.”

© W Magazine