Madonna news - Nov. 2002

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30 November - Our review of Die Another Day *spoiler*
Yesterday I went to see Die Another Day in the movie theatre. I'm not particularly a Bond fan, but I must say I liked this one (and not just because Madonna happened to appear in it ;-). Since this is a Madonna site, I'll limit my review to the Madonna elements in the movie.
'Die Another Day' starts off right away, with Pierce Brosnan on a mission in North Korea. Soon however his cover is blown and he gets arrested by the 'bad guys'. Then the opening credits start; with an speed-up version of Madonna's Die Another Day in the background, we see Bond getting tortured in a North Korean dungeon. There are some obvious similarities with the video for the song: Bond is dragged into a room - just like Madonna is in the beginning of the video - and afterwards the guards hold his head in the water tank. Once the credits are done, we jump 14 months into the future. Madonna's song is heard once more in the movie: when Bond and the Bond girls Jinx and Miranda are on a party in the Ice Palace, you can hear an uptempo instrumental version in the background.
It's 45 minutes into the movie when Madonna herself makes her appearance. Bond arrives for some fencing lessons and when he enters the room, Madonna is standing there, with her back to him. Bond points his epee at her and when she raises her own sword to parry, he evades it. Appreciately Madonna grins:"I see you know how to handle your weapon well", to which Bond replies: "I have been known to raise my tip from time to time". Meanwhile we see two fencers in full action; they turn out to be Miranda (Rosamund Pike) and Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens). Madonna first talks about Miranda, with the complementary innuendo. Then she talks about Gustav and asks if Bond wants her to introduce him. Before Bond and Gustav get to their fight, they ask Verity if she wants to place a bet, to which she replies with her already famous end line "No thanks, I don't like cock fights". Once they start fencing, we don't get to see Verity anymore. The cameo is just a few minutes, but it's a cool scene and Madonna really pulls it off very good. She acts pretty natural for a change and the scene flows very well. The lesbian innuendo has been largely exaggerated by the press and stays limited to some double remarks about Miranda, and some looks between the two girls. As reported earlier, other lines were cut from the movie.
During the end credits, the Dirty Vegas remix of Die Another Day is played.

28 November - DADay drops out of US top 10 but is Oscar contender
Oscar ad After four weeks in the top 10 of Billboard's Hot 100, Die Another Day slips down to #14. It's still #1 on the sales chart and the Hot Dance/Club Play chart. As you can see in the ad on the right, Die Another Day might be up for an Oscar nomination as 'Best Original Song'. The picture used in the ad is from Madonna's Bond cameo.

27 November - Elton John slags off Bond song
Yet another accomplished musician has slagged off 'Die Another Day' for being tuneless. During an interview with BBC's Liquid News last night, Sir Elton John - a self-proclaimed Madonna fan - has criticised her 007 theme tune. It's the second time this week that Madonna has been accused of producing a lacklustre soundtrack. "It hasn’t got a tune — James Bond themes are usually very camp and this one’s different," he said. John went on to say: "It is the worst Bond tune of all time." Harsh words! "They should have gone for somebody like Lulu and Shirley Bassey, or maybe I’m in that league," said the be-wigged star. But Elton went to great lengths to say that it wasn't an outright attack on M. "I don’t think it’s the best Madonna record and I’m a big fan.” (source: Madonnarama)

26 November - Bond composer doesn't like theme song
The man who wrote the musical score for the latest James Bond flick blasted Madonna yesterday - saying the Material Mom's theme song for the movie is a double-o dud. Composer David Arnold went as far as to call the techno-laced ballad, "the worst Bond song ever." "Ideally, I would have liked to have made some musical sense of her song, but I couldn't," Arnold, a Grammy Award winner, told London's Sunday Express. "Die Another Day," which debuted Friday, is Arnold's third Bond score, and he assures people won't hear another note from Madonna's song, which shares the film's title, anywhere else in the movie. "Nobody has criticized me for not working her song into the film score," Arnold said. "She got three minutes, I got 92." Arnold said he wasn't alone in his scorn for Madonna's song. When Prince Philip heard she was the songstress for the latest Bond installment, he allegedly asked: "Are we going to need ear plugs?" (source: NY Post)
~ A bit frustrated, Davy boy?

25 November - Wasn't that Madonna?
Some fans who saw the new James Bond movie 'Die Another Day' over the weekend may have wondered if that was really Madonna playing the character Verity. The movie's director, Lee Tamahori, says Madonna was doing the title song and had mentioned she'd like to have a small part in the movie, just for fun. Tamahori told her "'there's this great little part." At the time he signed Madonna the character was "a little murky," but he envisioned it as a "quasi-Lesbian, dominatrix fencing instructor." He says he thought that would be perfect for her. And, Tamahori told her he'd give her "a smashing costume." Tamahori enjoyed he cameo. "It's nice when you can just slip someone into the picture and they just appear and people go 'wasn't that Madonna?'" the director said. (source: AP)

25 November - Madonna and Guy produce Dusty *rumour*
Madonna's film history has never been much to write home about, particularly when in collaboration with Guy Ritchie, but the Queen of pop's latest foray into film sees her producing rather than acting. Previously rumoured to play Dusty Springfield in a biopic of the singer's life, the star has now decided on a more passive role, perhaps due to the slating she received for her performance in the flop Swept Away. Madge will produce the movie about the legendary sixties icon with husband Guy Ritchie, who will reportedly also direct. Former EastEnder actress Michelle Collins will play the British pop sensation. The film is said to highlight the singer's secret lesbianism and is sure to cause controversy. A perfect choice, then for Madonna and Guy who are no strangers to film or personal controversy and are still recovering from press reviews of their first collaboration Swept Away. The dynamic duo will be hoping for an improvement with The Dusty Springfield Story when filming begins next year. (source: PeopleNews)

24 November - Download Madonna's DADay cameo
Those who don't intend to watch Die Another Day in the theatres can download Madonna's cameo here. (thanx to MadGuy for the link)

24 November - M's cameo in the DADay reviews
Madonna's all over Die Another Day's reviews. Nearly every review I have read mentions the theme and cameo. From
- Headline: "Oh, James! Your 20th outing shows off a lot of stamina and vitality, and get this, Madonna's cameo doesn't suck!"
- ..."Bond's instructor happens to be Madonna (well-lit, un-self-conscious, and speaking in a natural voice)."
- Hollywood Reporter: "Realizing the franchise is challenged by youth movies like 'XXX,' the Bond producers raise the ante so James stays reasonably hip. Madonna sings the title song and even appears in one of the film's brighter sequences."
- Rolling Stone (Peter Travers): "I did like Madonna's title song, but then she spoils it by 'acting' as a lesbo fencing master. 'Do you fence, Mr. Bond?' she asks. 'I can keep my tip up,' he replies. Happily, some things never change." (source: MLVC mailing list)

24 November - DADay chart update
Die Another Day stays stable in most charts next week:
US Hot 100: stays at #10
US dance chart: stays at #1 for a second week
UK single chart: stays at #18
Australia single chart: down from #12 to #16
Australia dance chart: stays at #3

24 November - DAD movie conquers box office
James Bond conquered the box office on Friday as MGM's Die Another Day opened at number one with $15.7M in its first day of release, pushing aside last weekend's champ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets which tumbled 62 from last Friday to $10.9M. Die Another Day should gross $45-50M over the weekend while Potter will place second with about $35-40M. (source: Boxofficeguru, thanx to AbsMad)

23 November - Madonna's Bond cameo not part of title-track deal
Contrary to rumor, Madonna did not demand a Die Another Day cameo when she recorded the film's title track. While the pop singer's celluloid ambitions are no secret, Launch has confirmed that she did not strong-arm her way into playing a corset-wearing fencing instructor in the 40-year anniversary Bond installment. Die Another Day producer Barbara Broccoli set the record straight. "We were looking for somebody to do the song and her name came up and she expressed an interest and we jumped at it. And then she said, 'Oh, it'd be fun to do a cameo.' And we said, 'Well, we had a cameo role there,' we gave it to her, and she liked it. And then she kind of elaborated on it, made it her own, so it all worked out great. That's exactly how it happened and we're thrilled to bits and we think she did a great job with the song, and particularly love her cameo. It was just a small role and she really made it into something, and I thought she was fantastic. Great to work with." The electronica-infused Die Another Day single is currently Number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Die Another Day is now playing in theaters nationwide. (source: Launch)

22 November - Timberlake aroused by Madonna
Justin Timberlake loves older women and has a crush on Madonna. 'Madonna gives off this sex energy that is incredible. I was completely aroused – in every way when we met,' (source: PeopleNews)

21 November - The Queen doesn't know our queen
Madonna had been practicing her curtsey before she met the Queen, but she was apparently left chuckling by a comment Her Majesty made. The star, dressed in demure black and dripping with diamonds, met the Queen. But it was the Queen's apparent lack of an idea of who she was that left the pop diva giggling. When the Queen was told that Madonna had performed the theme tune for the 20th Bond movie - Die Another Day - she said "Oh really, did you?" Once the Queen had moved down the line Madonna couldn't contain herself anymore and had to giggle. (source: UK)

20 November - Swept Away video release
DVDfile lists that Swept Away will be released on DVD and VHS in the US on February 11th, 2003. (thanx to Madonnarama)

20 November - Guy likes Bond-age gear
Guy Ritchie wishes Madonna would wear her kinky Bond clothes on her days off. He told me he loves his wife’s leather bondage gear, which she wears for her cameo role in Die Another Day. In the film the Queen of Pop plays lesbian fencing instructor Verity and wears a stunning black leather basque which laces at the back. Guy told me: "When I saw her in that, I thought 'phwoar'. I wish she'd wear things like that at home." Material Girl Madge, who also sings the theme tune for the flick, is joined by Pierce Brosnan as 007 in a fencing scene. One of Madonna's scripted jokes never made it into the final film. We don't get to hear a rude comment which she uses about her stunning screen pupil Miranda Frost, played by Rosamund Pike. The scrapped line was: "She doesn’t beat around the bush — believe me, I've tried." Director Lee Tamahori said: "It was never shot because we figured it was hurting her character to have too many of those double entendres." At the premiere, Madonna said: "I think Pierce is one of the sexiest Bonds." She met the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh before the screening. But Madge and Guy then ducked out of the film early and gave the aftershow party a miss. Perhaps she decided to take her work home with her after all — and have an early night with Guy. (source: The Sun)

19 November - More on DADay premiere
The world premier of the 20th James Bond film lit up central London on Monday night, with two firsts at such events: Queen Elizabeth II joined the superstars, and the venue was Royal Albert Hall. Large crowds gathered outside the London landmark to watch the 'Die Another Day' actors show up, including Pierce Brosnan, the suave 007; his new lady, Oscar winner Halle Berry; and Madonna, who sings the movie's theme tune and plays the cameo role of fencing instructor Verity. [...] Madonna, who arrived with her husband Guy Ritchie, was dressed conservatively in a knee-length black cocktail dress and took the time to make sure she knew how to greet the queen. Madonna practiced her curtsey in front of co-star John Cleese, and afterward said: "The queen asked me about Bond. I have never met her before, but surprisingly I wasn't nervous." Royal Albert Hall was transformed into a glittering ice palace for the evening, similar to the lair of the latest Bond villain, Gustav Graves, played by Toby Stephens, the son of veteran actress Dame Maggie Smith. (source: AP)

18 November - Queen of pop meets Queen of England at DADay premiere
Guy and Madonna Madonna, Guy, Brosnan and his wife Keely Shay Smith Madonna kisses Brosnan Guy and Madonna Guy and Madonna Madonna and John Cleese wait for the queen Madonna meets the Queen Tonight the premiere of Die Another Day was helt in London. The entire cast, including Madonna, attended the event, as well as the Queen of England. BBC reports: "Her Majesty's Secret Service agent James Bond has had a royal appointment with the Queen at the première of his latest spy movie. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh met James Bond star Pierce Brosnan at the charity screening of Die Another Day at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The venue was transformed into an ice palace for the evening, in homage to the lair of Bond villain Gustav Graves, played by Toby Stephens. Madonna, who has a cameo role, attended with her husband.
Stars from the movie Halle Berry, Judi Dench, John Cleese, Rosamund Pike and Madonna attended the screening. Actors from classic Bond movies also attended, including three former 007s Timothy Dalton, George Lazenby and Roger Moore. Fans watched the stars and the royal party arrive for the premiere in grandstand seats which are being erected around the red carpet, along with huge screens to capture close-ups of the VIPs. Some of the world's most glamorous cars featured in the Bond films were also on show outside the Albert Hall.
Die Another Day marks the 20th film in the series, and as ever it features spectacular stunts performed around the world. "I think it is a really fine film. I'm very proud of it," said Brosnan. He said the long-lasting appeal of the film was because "from a male perspective we all want to be him. Even I would like to be him." Producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said they were honoured the film had been chosen as the annual Royal Film Performance. "James Bond is the epitome of all things British," they said in a statement. Brosnan, has confirmed he has signed up for a fifth Bond movie. "I was asked to come back for a fifth before we started Die Another Day. The answer is yes," he said. The film, which cost $142m, is released on 20 November." Photos courtesy of Yahoo .

18 November - The Verity lines that you won't hear
Australians will see the new James Bond film Die Another Day on December 12, but without a classic 007 franchise line which was to have been delivered by Madonna. The 44-year-old pop icon appears in an uncredited cameo in the film, wearing a leather outfit which looks more bondage than Bond. She plays, in the words of director Lee Tamahori a "filthy, lesbian, dominatrix fencing instructor".
According to the script, she was to have introduced her protege Miranda Frost, played by British newcomer Rosamund Pike, to Bond (Pierce Brosnan) with the potentially immortal words: "She doesn't beat around the bush – believe me, I've tried." Ahem. In the end, however, Tamahori demurred. "It was never shot, because we figured it was hurting her character to have too many of those double entendres," said the New Zealander. "We cut one of them and two never made it. We never even shot them. We figured it was overloading it too much." Just how Madonna came to appear in Die Another Day is a moot point. She says MGM "kept begging me and begging me and begging me" to write the title song, which she eventually did. "When I handed them the song, I started sort of talking to the director a lot and he was showing me a lot of footage of the movie and then he kind of said, 'Oh, it would be really cool if you could do a cameo'," Madonna says. "Somehow they talked me into that, too. They are very persuasive over there at MGM, so I did it." Tamahori, 51, has been begging, too, to differ. "Her people – agents, managers, whatever – came and said she'd very much like to play a cameo in the movie. That was the way it was presented to me. She never came to me and said, 'Look, the studio is bothering me to be in the movie and I don't want to, but they're paying me a lot of money to do it'. "I thought she'd be great to do a cameo in it and then when I met her she had some kind of reluctance. She said, 'I'd be very happy to be in the picture but I don't really care. If you've got nothing for me I am not going to be upset about it'." (source: Herald Sun)

18 November - Autobiography might never hit print
Madonna's memoirs may never hit print. The pop queen is still under contract to write her memoirs after signing a deal in 1992 - but she has no plans as yet to sit down and write about her life. The book was to be released as the second part of two-book £1million publishing deal with Random House UK that Madonna signed 10 years ago. The first book was Sex published in 1992. Madonna, however, it seems is too busy writing children's books, which she is testing out on her daughter, Lourdes. (source: UK)

18 November - Update DADay charts
This week's chart positions for Die Another Day:
US: #10
UK: #18
France: #18
Australia: #11
Canada: #1!! (her 17th Canadian #1!!)
And the single now tops the Hot Dance/Club Play chart in the US, which means it's Madonna's 28th no. 1 dance hit! Congratulations!!

17 November - Madonna on the set of DADay
A former Olympic fencer who got a bit part in Die Another Day has revealed what life was like with Madonna on the set of the Bond film. Richard Cohen says Madonna put off her one scene time and time again adding thousands to the budget:
"Throughout filming, there has been one constant topic: will Madonna show up? She is said to have put off her one scene time and time again, adding thousands to the budget, and gossip on the set is that fee will be half a million pounds for just one day's shooting. In the end she is slated to appear on the last day of filming - well into July and the movie has to be released in November. She is 44 now, a mother of young children: how will she look? The whole set is to be 'closed' for her; no visitors and definitely no Press, and her dressing rooms shut off from the cast. On the day she is due to make her long-awaited appearance, the rest of us turn up, as usual, at 7am......At 8am I am....aware of an eeerie silence on set: Madonna has arrived. She wanders nochalantly across the fencing room in a black Versace outfit which includes a figure hugging corset which she will later ask Bind to do up for her. Her black leotard is so skin tight it looks like cling-film. Her arms, muscular as a gymnast's, are bare, and as she saunters across stage she casually licks a red lolly. She hasn't said a word yet, but she has no need to. It is an unusual experience; the magnetic pull of stardom. None of us can help ourselves, everyone is looking at her.
A few minutes pass, then Brosnan appears and the two stars eye each other, like boxers weighing up who has the heavier punch. Madonna is playing the part of Verity, the club's head coach. Originally, she was to be one of Bond's ex-girlfriends but she objected to being his cast-off and on-set gossip has it that she re-wrote her lines and his, remodelling herself as a lesbian, beyond Bond's reach.
She brightly refers to 'my innuendo scene' and it is soon clear why. Bond strides in and asks her if can have a lesson from her. Madonna has her back to him, but turns to answer. Bond points his epee at her and when she raises her own sword to parry, he evades it. 'I see you know how to handle your weapon well,' Madonna says appreciatively. 'I have been known to raise my tip from time to time', Brosnan replies. Carry on 007.
Madonna, though physically adept, has trouble with the moves and the scene requires several takes. As the two stars wait for the camera to be set up again they talk together easily. Later Brosnan confesses that on their first meeting backstage he had started to hum her early hit, Like A Virgin, at which she turned on him and said accusingly: 'Don't diss me!' But that seems forgotten now. Then Madonna turns to fencing. 'Have you had a go at this yet?' she asks. 'It's great. Gives you a womderful workout.' Brosnan looks unconvinced.
'Right. Next take' an assistant director breaks in. This time it's the corset scene. 'I seem to have come....undone' says Madonna, playing the line for all it's worth before collapsing into a fit of giggles. Later, she urges Bond to take on Graves in a fencing bout. 'I think you will provide stiffer opposition.' More giggles. By now she is handling her epee with real deftness. When the director finally says he is satisfied she walks past me and I say inanely: 'You could become a good fencer, you know'. She gives me the briefest of glances: 'Gee. Wow!' It is 5pm and, breaks apart, she has been on set for eight hours. Now it's a wrap. Her fight scene is over. (source: Mail On Sunday, thanx to Madonnarama)

16 November - IMDB interview with Guy
Movie site IMDB has an interview with Guy Ritchie, talking about Swept Away, and about working and living with Madonna. Read here.

16 November - Should Madonna give up doing films?
Can we finally draw a line under Madonna's movie career? After the humiliating withdrawl of Swept Away from British screens last week, you'd imagine she might finally beat her retreat from an arena in which she's tasted nothing but failure and embarassment. The unprecedently hostile reception accorded to Swept Away in America - where it earned a derisory $500,000 on a $25million outlawy - must have been particularly galling, especially since her director was 'him indoors'.
Frankly, the unanimous critical pasting was a little extreme: she wasn't less or more awful than she usually is, and her suntan in the movie was eerily, almost mechanically awesome. Even so, the audiences who didn't stay away found her patently unable to justify their love. I suspect the Material Girl herself personally cancelled the UK release, thus sparing herself a second media drubbing in the country she now calls home. Can you blame her? Life's too short. Nonetheless, it is remarkable how long she has persisted in the delusion that she might make a good movie star material. You can tell the company she wishes she could keep by the names she checked in Vogue: Garbo, Grace Kelly; Marilyn; Jean Harlow; Lana Turner, Lauren Bacall and Rita Hayworth.
Trouble is, movie stars are born more often than they are made, and that seductive camera magic isn't fairly aportioned at birth. You've got it or you haven't.
The mistake Madonna makes is in thinking that a charisma that depends on large stage gestures and provactive, broad brush MTV visuals can translate into a harsher realm of merciless close-ups, long takes, repeated line reading and a consistent maintenance of emotional tone. What Madonna has, in musical terms, is also rare and considering her talents have helped transform the lives of girls and women since the mid-1980s, you'd think that she might be happy with that. Ah, but here comes Bond number 20, Die Another Day, for which she has done quite a nifty title song - the kind of thing she really does excel at - plus a peek a boo cameo in the movie itself as the mistress of a fencing club. If she maintains that ratio of decent music and miniscule appearances, we can all be grateful. (source: The Guardian, thanx to MadMax)

16 November - Madonna speaks in 2004
It looks like all the hoo-ha over Ulrika Jonnson's autobiography will do nothing to stem the flow of celebrity memoirs – no lesser person than Madonna is writing a book, to be called Madonna Speaks. It'll be in the shops by 2004. 'No-one knows much about it, but it has got a release date of 2004 and it is certainly an autobiography,' said a spokesman for Secker and Warburg, who are to publish the tome. Apparently, the Material Mom signed a two-book deal in the early 90s, the first being the controversial bondage coffee table book Sex, and the second of which was her life story. The second never appeared, though, and seems to have been forgotten about until now. Get ready for some serious score-settling. (source: PeopleNews)

16 November - Mo is a moo-vie success
Posh is a cow and so is Camilla, Madonna and Kylie, according to a new survey that shows farmers are naming their cattle after celebrities. The National Farmers' Union study, which interviewed 200 farmers in England and Wales, finds that rather than using traditional names farmers are naming their herd after stars of pop, film, sports and royalty. Beckham has replaced Buttercup, Denzel has trampled on Daisy and Madonna is more likely to moo than Marigold. (source: Ananova)

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