Madonna was radiant promoting W.E.; dressed in mint condition, agreeable, friendly, cordial, smiling. It was refreshing to see her be so kind and open. The conference lasted 45 minutes...which is the equivalent of 8 Madonna years. She took dozens and dozens of questions about her life, the movie, the process of filming and writing, and her career.
Obviously, I was in heaven; all right, I was having an out of body. But, I had to keep me cool; I pretended I worked for a film company so my friend could sneak me in. I was the youngest there by a longshot. The writers seem to be mostly older men and women who pounced on me; they were chatting me up and asking me to send them screeners of the movie.
My favorite quip from Madonna was in response to a statement made by a reporter likening Wallis' romantic experience to Madonna's: 'Madonna, I am sure you know what it feels like to be loved so much; I mean, any man would give up his kingdom for you.' She rejoinders:' 'I wouldn't count on it!'
Another clever reply came when she was asked: 'Madonna, what is in your jewelry box?' She replied coyly: 'I have a few nice pieces...but, the nicest things I have I gave myself.'
She slips in between 'Madonna dialects'; polished and faux British, mid Western twang, accentless American English. She bats her eyes a lot as she takes questions and formulates her thoughts. It is an affectation that lends import to every word she utters.
Her press agent was adamant that the reporters not photograph Madonna while she answered questions. Madonna kept shooting her knowing stares. Madonna piped up finally and insisted that the photographs 'were a distraction' going as far as to say, 'How close is that bulb?!' 'I can't concentrate.'
It really was too close; I agreed with her. I even liked how she tried to be diplomatic by saying, 'How about I answer a question. Then you can take a picture.' They feigned agreement. She beamed, 'Democracy!' But, the reporters did not let up. And, there was no way for her to get out of the pickle without looking like a controlling bitch. It made me realize that with this project she really is in the hands of the public. She laughed about the 'Hydrangea-incident' at Venice Film Festival, a nod to self-deprecation.
Following oodles of questions and photos of Madonna, her bodyguards escorted her out and Abby Cornish came in. Abby is beautiful; Nicole Kidman smile on a Kate Winslet body. She has a very fresh and pretty face. She is a curvaceous gal. Not a rail like some of the others.
The day of glory continued with the premiere of the film which started at 6:30; I was seated in reserved seating three rows behind Madonna and the cast. The audiences in Toronto are so respectful, courteous and genuinely excited to be a part of the magic. Madonna introduced the film saying, 'As many of you know, I am from Detroit, so I am practically Canadian...I love Toronto so much; even though they have tried to arrest me here.'
Just as I thought the crowd would continue it's demure attitude towards the stars, the crowd began screaming for her. You have never seen anything like the shouting: 'Madonna! Madonna! Madonna!' It was like they were seeing a saint. Religious zeal is what it felt like; you know when people go crazy and seem drugged up and nuts? That was the way these fans acted. These fans make me look like a calm cool collected wallflower.
What was great was that I was on the inside seeing the whole process unfurl. These stars are on a year long campaign to promote their movies, meet the press, get the word out, and aspire to some kind of lasting artistic glory. Madonna said that her musical performances are so 'primal, such an instantaneous give and take', while film is much more of an intellectual undertaking. Which takes us to the movie...
My read is: one part Kings Speech (history), two parts Single Man (styling), one part Julie Julia (narrative device). See it and tell me if you agree.
The film was beautiful; it has a modern plot that is used as a lens to understanding the romance of Wallis and Edward. My feeling is that the acting of Andrea Riseborough who played Wallis was outstanding. I bumped into Andrea at the Soho House after-party for W.E. and told her how much I loved her dancing and her Dolce and Gabbana dress. She was kind and took the time to ask me my name and really gave Madonna a lot of credit. (I overheard her introduce herself to Gerard Butler saying, 'Hi, I am Andrea.' He said, 'Oh, what are you here promoting?' She responded, 'W.E. You know, Madonna's movie.')
The score to the movie is sensational; the dialogue is a little contrived at times. Such a shame. I could have edited it college app-style and done some less cheesy transitions. I feel like the public will be hard on the movie and not appreciate the styling and the film techniques which were really beautifully interwoven into the story (because, like I said, it is told as a lens so the movie shifts through decades; a cup and saucer at the Sotheby's auction is a catalyst for a party at Bois Boulogne in 1936 Paris. it is a device that works, though, in my opinion and I never felt confused by it).
The costumes. THE COSTUMES! Jesus! The costumes are marvelous. There is a sexy silver dress Wallis wears as she dances. I hope my friend Tom Ford makes a dress like that next season; it would be perfect for his collection's aesthetic!