ondon [Monday, May 20, 1996]:
I slept a luxurious seven hours last night. I still feel like my eyeballs had been dug out of their sockets, but at least I have the day off. Last night my fans caused a bit of a riot in front of my house. There’s an old stone wall that surrounds the front yard and it has a ledge halfway up that is in a serious state of decay. My fans have gotten into the habit of hoisting themselves up onto this ledge to peer inside the grounds. Last night when I returned from work they all jumped on the ledge at once and pulled the whole damn thing over in one resounding thud. I made it safely into the house and let my security guards deal with the problem, but all I could think about was how irate the owners would be and how they probably threaten me with a lawsuit, so I better call the police and fill out a police report. Then they started arguing about whose fault it was. One of the girls called another girl a nigger and then two other girls jumped the girl who said the n-word and pretty soon there was an all-girl rumbling in the rubble. Eventually the police showed up. I thought these kind of things happened only at rock concerts and soccer matches. Why don’t they leave me alone? Today I get the results of my amnio. I have eaten all the skin off the inside of my mouth. Later: The results of the amnio are back and the baby is fine and a female and I am deliriously happy! Thank you, God.
London [Thursday, May 23, 1996]:
It’s getting harder and harder to write in my journal. Every day is so full and there’s never enough time. There are no easy days at work. I realize now that this whole movie was scheduled around the availability of locations and the construction of sets. This is, in fact, how most movies are scheduled, but it’s completely unfair to the actors. The intensity of the scenes we’ve been shooting and the amount of emotional work and concentration that is needed to get through the day are so mentally and physically exhausting that I’m sure I will need to be institutionalized when it’s over. I understand now why most actors are alcoholics, drug addicts, or Scientologists. Yesterday was my movie family’s last day of work. We all cried when we said good-bye.
London [Friday, May 24, 1996]:
Not knowing what our last day of shooting is going to be makes me feel so incredibly helpless and anxiety-ridden. Lady Hinlip, our very aristocratic landlady, is throwing us out of her house in five days. Will I spend my last days of shooting as a homeless vagrant? At this point I am positively allergic to hotels and there is a lovely park with some nice benches for sleeping right down the street.
London [Sunday, May 26, 1996]:
Work is so ugh! We’re crawling through the last days. The crew alternates between complete exhaustion and absolute giddiness. Alan walks around looking shattered. Today he put his head on my shoulder for several minutes and I petted him like he was my little puppy. Sometimes he can be so damn sweet. Jonathan, Jimmy, and Antonio are all wrapped now, so it’s just me and the boys. I’ve become very accident-prone lately. I slipped and fell rushing to the elevator in a scene we were shooting, then, later on, I slammed my fingers in the elevator door. Tonight my arms are covered with bruises from being manhandled by the military police. Dare I say it? I am tired of being her.
London [Monday, May 27, 1996]:
Today is a bank holiday in London. The streets are dead and the skies are gray. My supposed fans are out of school and making all sorts of irritating noises in front of my house. Normally a day like this would put me in the foulest of moods. But today I am grinning like the Cheshire cat. Tomorrow is our last day of shooting! Hooray! Granted it will be a long day, probably 18 hours, but who cares? Today I’ve got enough adrenaline pumping through my veins to run a marathon. I’m powering through this house stuffing suitcases and throwing out unwanted excess like there’ s no tomorrow. Every once in awhile I catch myself laughing out loud. For no particular reason. I need a whole new suitcase for all the baby clothes that I’ve acquired. My daughter is going to be the best-dressed girl in the world. Tonight I’m going out to a farewell dinner with several members of cast and crew. We’re going to exchange gifts and bitch and moan for the last time. Ain’t life grand?
New York [Wednesday, May 29, 1996]:
I’m home finally. I tried in vain to write a closing journal entry on my last day of shooting, but we did not finish filming until four A.M. in the morning and then the long good-byes and the long drive home and the last-minute packing, and before I knew it, it was time to leave for the airport. I thought the end would be so much more emotional. I envisioned myself breaking down completely when Alan yelled, “That’s a wrap!” I’d rehearsed a whole good-bye speech that I would deliver while I sobbed and shivered in the cold, damp London night, but all at once it was over and all I felt was numbness. Granted my eyes were burning form the special-effects smoke, and my legs felt like lead weights from standing on them for 16 hours. So what if my fingers were frozen and my belly was straining against my suit and I felt like puking. I wanted it all to end in a big crescendo. I wanted to hear trumpets and angels heralding my bravery. I wanted cast and crew members to flock to me imploring me to stay in touch. I wanted to throw myself on the ground and drown in my tears. But I was just too damn tired. And so was everyone else. Alan and I gave each other a long bear hug, but I know I’ll be seeing plenty more of him when we mix the record and do all the final dubbing. For me, work on the film isn’t truly over, but the endless traveling and long hours of filming are. It ended just in the nick of time. I couldn’t have taken one more minute of it. I can’t believe I wont have to spend three hours each day doing my hair in elaborate braids and 40s rolls. I can’t believe I won’t have to paint my nails red and wear false teeth. I can’ t believe I don’t have to get up at six A.M. tomorrow or yell at Gallagher, the second assistant director, about my call time in my pretend angry voice. And Darius, whom I’ve grown to love as a brother. Who called me Moushka and Mouse Head and Lou-Lou and made faces at me until I laughed every morning. I shall miss him terribly.
I’m in a state of shock. I think it will take me months to recover and a very long time before I’m able to digest all that has happened to me these past five months. Everything is different now.
My life will never be the same.
Have I solved the riddle of Evita? Have I answered all the burning questions? Why was her country so passionately divided, for her and against her? Why did she evoke such a strong response in people, then and now? Was she good or bad? Innocent or manipulative? I’m still not sure, but I know one thing – I have grown to love her.
She was a human being with hopes and dreams and human frailties. I hope and pray that people will see that when they watch the movie.
I’ve tried my best. There’s nothing more that I can do. It’s time to move on to the next chapter in my life.
Evita has left the building.
© Vanity Fair