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Madonna’s Evita Diaries : Vanity Fair

Buenos Aires [Friday, March 15, 1996]:
Today is my last day of shooting in B.A.. My room is a mountain of suitcases and the unloved remains of things I have acquired but do not want to take. I thought this day would never come and now she’s here and I’m a bit sad, but not too sad, for I feel like I have accomplished everything I set out to do and then some. Yes, I have suffered, but not in vain. I do wonder why the Argentineans made such a fuss. No one protested when I was on the balcony. No anger. No vicious journalism. I think they just wanted to see how far I was willing to crawl and beg for something. They obviously don’t know me. I do feel like I have earned a modicum of respect here. Like anything important in life it must be earned.

New York [Tuesday, March 19, 1996]:
When we got off the plane in America I kissed the ground. God, I felt good to be home. I spent three uninterrupted days of bliss in Miami and here is why I feel guilty: I rode my bike and took my boat out to see the dolphins and buried my nose in my gardenia bushes and watched the Tyson fight and stayed in my nightgown all day and had acupuncture and read Shakespeare’s love sonnets and ate ice cream. All very un-Evita- like behaviour, but I needed to remind myself that I had a life before her. I’ve stopped off in New York to prepare myself for the cold and gray of Budapest and get in a few dance rehearsals and of course shop. I hope it was not a mistake to come here. I don’t want to get too far away from the movie. Mind, body, and spirit must stay focused. In any case, Evita did like to go shopping, so I’m not straying too far. Am I?

Budapest [Monday, March 25, 1996]:
I cannot wear any of my new frocks in Budapest. There’s still a chill in the air and not a hint of spring. I’ve been sneezing all morning and tomorrow we’re shooting a scene outside and all I’ll be wearing is a simple summer dress. Last week- heat, exhaustion, and sunburn. This week- pneumonia. The one good thing about the cold is that your hair doesn’t grow as fast, so I won’t have to shave my legs often. What can I say about Budapest? The architecture is beautiful, and if you squint your eyes it feels like Paris. My hotel, on the other hand, is a big, modern glass monstrosity run by Germans. I reserve judgment until further exploration. Oh dear, that’s not like me.

Budapest [Tuesday, March 26, 1996]:
I am in a jet-lag stupor. So tired my skin hurts. I couldn’t sleep last night and even the freezing temperature on the set did not wake me up. I had to march through mud puddles with steelworkers and my feet were wet and frozen. It’s hard to look happy and lively when your teeth are chattering. I pray to God it warms up or I’m in for some real suffering. I wonder if anyone paid any attention to the fact that it’s wintertime and almost everything we’re shooting is an exterior. But these decisions are made by people who get to walk around in warm parkas all day long. I think I’m going to protest. I’m not getting paid enough to suffer hypothermia. The extras are a morbid bunch. No sense of humor. I don’t blame them- it’s so damn bleak here.

Budapest [Thursday, March 28, 1996]:
Between the layers of silk thermals and the hot chocolate I was guzzling to stay warm I could hardly fit into my costume last night. After midnight the wind kicked up and it was so bitterly cold that the only thing that got me through the evening was my desert visualization and chanting my mantra. Fortunately, we were shooting the scene were I faint and I’m carried down a hundred steps by my brother. I did not have to pretend to be unconscious. The cold did it for me. The good news is that I finished all my work last night and I have this evening off. It’s Antonio’s turn to freeze. The sun was out in the afternoon and we walked to an old coffeehouse built at the turn of the century and gorged ourselves on more hot chocolate and wonderful cakes and marzipan. Then we walked to the river and looked at all the castles on the hill and the beautiful House of Parliament. When people recognized me they kept their distance and even the fans following me were polite and shy. It was all very pleasant and civilized. I don’t feel like a trapped prisoner.

Budapest [Sunday, March 31, 1996]:
Today is Palm Sunday. We went to a beautiful Gothic church called Matthias or Holy Mother Church. Seven hundred years old. Gorgeous. We went after a service and there was a sort of choral practice going on. Four singers singing in French with and organist and a cello player. I could have spent hours there smelling the incense and staring at the painted ceilings. The music filled up the entire church, which was decorated with beautiful mosaic tiles and Baroque trimmings. I lit a candle and prayed for the movie to go well and the sun to come out and the bishop to stop torturing me. We are trying to get permission to shoot a scene in a basilica, but it seems a certain holier-than-thou bishop won’t allow it because he doesn’t approve of my behavior. I wonder if he would let 75 percent of his parishioners in his church if he knew what they did in their spare time. Now it’s news all over the world that I’m causing problems in Budapest. The bishop will not let me in his church. I am a bad girl. A fallen woman. A sinner. If I gave him an autographed picture he would probably change his mind. The bishop can kiss my ass. I’m not groveling for one more person in the name of this movie. There is no more skin left on my knees. I will never apologize for my behavior. Neither would Evita.

Budapest [Wednesday, April 3, 1996]:
Woke up sideways on the bed, tangled in my sheets and slightly nauseated from too much dreaming. Too many trips to the ugly side of my
unconscious. I went to sleep in a bad mood. I’m not sure what I was most upset about. The fact that I never know what we’re shooting from day to day because of the weather? The fact that I was on my feet for 14 hours with and irritated sciatic nerve? Pain like lighting bolts shoot down my leg. Today I spend the day in the hospital bed being told that I am dying. This will not be a stretch.

Budapest [Thursday, April 4, 1996]:
Yesterday was a real cryfest. I spent the entire day horizontal. First in the operating room, where I felt like I was doing an ER episode, and then in the hospital bed being told that I have cancer. I kept thinking about how my mother must have felt with my father when he told her that she was dying. And how she stayed so cheerful and never gave in to her sadness even at the end. This brought on the flood of tears throughout the entire day. But Jonathan cried more than I did. He had gotten some upsetting news and he was a mess before we started shooting. He cried before, during, and after takes. Sometimes he would sneak off to the side and face the wall and sob. His whole body was racked with tears. Sometimes I cried in reaction to his obvious grief. I thought maybe something had happened to his wife or his children, but he only looked at me when the camera was rolling, so I couldn’t ask. Clearly he didn’t want to talk about it.

Budapest [Saturday, April 6, 1996]:
Yesterday was Good Friday and I thought about my mother again, how she would cover up all the religious pictures and statues in the house with purple cloth. Until Christ rose from the dead. I thought it a bizarre ritual but quite beautiful. Easter has always been my favorite holiday. New hats, new buds on the trees, Easter-egg hunts, and chocolate. I’m trying to get into the spirit here, but it’s difficult. If only the sun would shine or a bird would sing. The movie is going along smoothly and we’re getting things done, but I feel as if time has stopped. Like we’re all in a holding pattern. What is not in a holding pattern is the baby growing inside of me. I have known for three weeks, and while I am ecstatic, I was so afraid of how it might affect the movie [my other baby] that I couldn’t even write about it. But I must face the facts and tell Production because my costumes are starting not to fit and I’m becoming very self-conscious about my body. Not to mention the fact that there are at least six more weeks of shooting and some big dance scenes to be filmed in England at the end of the schedule. Alan already knows. I told him after I got to New York and went to the doctor’s. I really never suspected for a moment that I might be pregnant. I often missed periods when I’m stressed, traveling, working too hard, or not sleeping. I was stunned when I saw on the ultrasound a tiny living creature spinning around in my womb. Tap-dancing, I think. Waving its tiny arms around and trying to suck its thumb. I could have sworn I heard it laughing. The pure and joyful laughter of a child. As if to say, “Ha-ha, I fooled you!” I heard its heartbeat and immediately fell in love. And then I became panic-stricken. I decided to tell only a handful of people: my assistant, my trainer, and Carlos, of course. I live in fear of the press’s finding out. Not because I’m ashamed of anything, but they will send their camera crews to torture me and I’m desperate to finish filming in peace, as I am sure everyone else is. I haven’t ever told my best friends or my sisters. I had hoped to keep it secret until the end of shooting , but I don’t think this will be possible. Of course, they could always get a body double for all my dance sequences [like Jennifer Beals in Flashdance], but the idea of someone else doing my dancing is repulsive. I’m three months pregnant and I’ve got about four more weeks of barely hiding it. Oh please, dear God, let them change the schedule and let me get through this and still be great and not wreak havoc on the movie. I promise I’ll be good.

Budapest [Easter Sunday, 1996]:
There is a God. The sun is shining, and looking out my window I swear I see a patch of green. Today I will try not to worry about anything. I will try not to be too homesick. Too fatalistic. I will not read any Dorothy Parker. All my friends have sent me care packages, and I intend to gorge myself on foie gras, caviar, and Cadbury’s Creme Eggs, though I’d better be careful or that bun in my oven will turn into a loaf.