Madonna news - June 2011


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30 June - W.E. premieres in NYC and LA on December 9
The Weinstein Co. will release Madonna's W.E. on Dec. 9 in New York and Los Angeles.
Film will expand to additional markets that month with a wide release planned by mid-January.
Pic is Madonna's feature directorial debut. Singer co-wrote the pic with Alek Keshishian.
Film stars Abbie Cornish, Andrea Riseborough, James D'Arcy and Oscar Isaac.
Story centers on a woman searching for true love who draws inspiration from the romance between Wallis Simpson and Britain's King Edward VIII.
Madonna and Kris Thykier with Scott Franklin exec producing.
Madonna is repped by CAA and Untitled Entertainment. (source: Variety)

In other W.E. news: composer Abel Korzeniowski gushed on his Facebook page: "W.E. could be my best score so far. Madonna really let me spread my wings and soar."
He also said that none of the William Orbit tracks have been used for the soundtrack.


29 June - Preview of new Material Girl campaign
A first preview of the new campaign for the Material Girl clothing line with Kelly Osbourne has appeared on the official Facebook page.

Kelly Osbourne for Material Girl Kelly Osbourne for Material Girl Kelly Osbourne for Material Girl Kelly Osbourne for Material Girl Kelly Osbourne for Material Girl


29 June - Madonna expands efforts to help orphans in Malawi
Months after overhauling her charitable foundation, Madonna is getting back into the giving groove.
In this exclusive peek at her interview in American Revolutionaries: The Hitmakers, Ovation's new three-week docu-series focusing on some of pop music's most influential artists, Madge reveals she plans to redouble her efforts to aid orphans in the South African country after adopting son,David, and daughter, Mercy, from an orphanage there.

Here's what she had to say:
"My short term goals are to build an orphan care center that will service and reach at least 1,000 children and I'm also actively involved in funding several orphanages that already exist," Madonna said.

Hitmakers, which also chronicles such luminaries as Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Presley, Run D.M.C., and Beyoncé, airs from July 1-24 with Madonna's episode set to premiere on July 12. (source: E Online)


24 June - Madonna's life story to be subject of comic book
Madonna will soon find herself in a whole new material world: the pages of a comic book.

Madonna on the cover of her own comic book The star will have her life story told in 32 pages by Bluewater Productions Inc., the latest celebrity to be part of its semi-regular line of "Female Force" comics, the publisher said Thursday.

"Our goal is to show the little-known events and influences that resulted in Madonna becoming the phenomenon she remains to this day, more than a quarter-century after she burst upon the scene," said Jason Schultz, Bluewater's executive vice president. "A visual medium provides perspective that is not only accessible but more relatable to the average person without losing any of the information involved."

The one-shot issue - due out in August for $3.99 and written by C.W. Cooke and drawn by Michael Johnson - will look at her life as it transformed from a little-known singer into a multimillion-record-selling entertainer and trendsetter.

"Most pop stars owe everything to this woman. It's amazing all of the things that she's done in her lifetime, and I have a feeling that this is still only the beginning," Cooke said of Madonna.

The issue joins a growing collection of similar titles from the Vancouver, Wash.-based publisher. Previous subjects in the "Female Force" series that have included Betty White, Michelle Obama, Barbara Walters, Sarah Palin and Margaret Thatcher, among others. (source: Miami Herald)


17 June - Madonna's statement to New Yorkers
"New Yorkers your voices must be heard. Tell your state Congressmen to support same sex marriage bill. All you need is love" - Madonna (source: Madonna.com)


16 June - Here's what Madonna needs to do for her next album to be a hit
Madonna's manager, Guy Oseary, took to Twitter yesterday to announce that the Queen of Pop would be hitting the studio next month to begin work on her twelfth studio album – her first since 2008's Hard Candy. "Madonna goes into the recording studio next month to begin work on new album," he wrote. Soon after, a fan asked who M would be hitting the studio with, and Oseary responded, saying, "She has a good idea on which producers she will be working with."

He did not elaborate further.

Which got us thinking about what we'd like to hear from the pop trendsetter who's done it all. More than 28 years into her record shattering career, Madonna really doesn't have to prove anything to anyone – she's the top-selling female artist ever, has had more top ten hits than Elvis (or anyone else, alive or dead) and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. But with Lady Gaga hotter on her heels than any other diva who's made a play for her throne, Madge does have a reason to put out a killer album.

As longtime fans, we know what has and hasn't worked for Madonna over the years. Read on for our thought on how she should approach her next record.

Stay Away From "Hot" Producers
Dr. Luke has worked wonders for Britney Spears ("Till The World Ends") and Katy Perry ("Teenage Dream"). RedOne and Lady Gaga have the kind of connection that produces insta-classics like "Bad Romance." Max Martin has become Pink's go-to guy for recent hits like "Raise Your Glass." Madonna should stay away from all of these people.

Here's why: It didn't really work last time. On Hard Candy, Madonna collaborated with Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, Danja and Pharrell Williams. The results were mostly fine – we're actually partial to her tunes with Williams, especially Incredible and The Beat Goes On – and she scored her biggest hit in years with the Timberlake jam 4 Minutes. But her previous set, Confessions on a Dance Floor, was widely considered a return to form, and, frankly, running to of-the-moment producers in an attempt to score some easy hits felt cheap and a little desperate coming from one of the most forward-thinking minds in pop, particularly on the heels of her best album in years.

Make Some Real Dance Music
In the late-90s and early aughts, Madonna did something that no other pop star could do: She brought real dance music to America, and America liked it. She eschewed the conventions of pop music at the time, which was dominated by the bubblegum thump of early Spears and NSYNC, and opted instead to work with underground producers like William Orbit and Mirwais Ahmadzai to introduce electronic and house sounds that were completely foreign to domestic radio. She was rewarded with career-best reviews, reinvigorated album sales and multiple Grammy Awards for her effort.

With that in mind, we suggest she make a few phone calls. A good place to start would be with the Swedish trio Swedish House Mafia – Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell. With little mainstream fanfare, their latest single "Save the World" has racked up over 12 million views on YouTube. Axwell sits on DJMag's list of the top ten DJ's in the world. Others to consider from that same listing: Tiesto and Armin Van Buuren, both of whom specialize in the kind of progressive trance and house music that gets crowds moving (and M does have that massive 360, touring-recording deal with Live Nation to deliver on).

What we're saying is, the best Madonna music has been born from like-minded collaboration with lesser-known dance producers she is herself a fan of, not from current production giants looking to throw their signature beats at the wall to see what sticks.

Write About Something
The weirdest thing about Hard Candy was the almost regressive nature of some of the lyrics. Music, Ray of Light and Confessions on a Dance Floor were buoyed by thoughtful, reflective lyrics about love, life and spirituality, while a track on Hard Candy had the then-49-year-old singer cooing the line "see my booty get down." Yes, her signature theme – which we'd boil down to the universal catharsis and release only the dance floor can provide – was present on all these albums, but it wasn't as smartly crafted on Candy as it was on her past efforts. Lyrically, decades-old albums like Erotica and Like a Prayer felt like more mature works.

Since her last album, Madonna has been through a lot, including an adoption, divorce and her return to New York. She's also the only pop star in the world who can address what it's like to be a sex symbol aging in full view of the public. Her age has led some pop critics to write her off entirely. Tell us what it feels like to have people turn their backs on you despite the fact that your hit-making instincts and songwriting chops are as sharp as ever, Madonna. We're all ears! (source: MTV)


15 June - First reaction after W.E. private screening
Yesterday, Madonna held a private screening of her new feature film W.E.. Here's what one of the attendees has to say about it:

"Last night, I had the pleasure to attend a screening of W.E. Madonna's directorial feature debut. The film tells two parallel love stories seperated by almost 6 decades. Most notably the story of American born Wallis Simpson who would later become the Duchess of Windsor after her lover King Edward VIII would step down from his short lived run as Kind of England in order to marry and live out the romance of a century with the woman he loved. Wallis Simpson has been portrayed as one of the most vilified characters in England’s history. However, W.E. tells the story from Wallis’s point of view for the first time.

Madonna, who does not appear in the film, exceeded my expectations with this romantic, tender and intimate story. The cinematography was breathtaking at moments and the casting was fantastic. Still, I had little need for the parallel modern day story of the main character, Wally Winthrop, who finds herself suddenly connected to Wallis and her love story. I felt Madonna’s portrayal of the Duchess was so artfully done that the added modern story line only complicated and mutled a thrilling tale told for the first time.

The music was beautiful although there were blatant references to the Wong Kar Wai formula so beautifully executed in In the Mood for Love.

All said and done, I sat entirely engaged for the entire 2 hour film... so there you have it." (source: Nicola Susino)


14 June - Madonna to start recording new album next month
Guy Oseary has replied to some fan's questions on Twitter. Most importantly, he has announced that Madonna will hit the recording studio in July to start working on a new album!
Here's what else he had to say:

About recording new music:
Madonna goes into the recording studio next month to begin work on new album...
She has a good idea on which producers she will be working with...
Lots of questions about what kind of music it will be... stay tuned...

About a new tour:
There is nothing to report in regards to tour.. you guys know how this works... first comes the album and next comes the........

About DVD releases:
Lots of questions about dvd's... At some point i will work with Warner Music to organize and collaborate on these projects.. no plan yet..

About leaks and back catalog:
I don't know who all the leaks are coming from... if anyone wants to tell me the source, i would appreciate it.. :)
There are no back catalog plans currently.. I met with Warner Music about that very subject.. but nothing has come of it...
Anything in the past would be Warner Music catalog...

Stay tuned for another Twitter Q&A with Guy in the next few days!


13 June - The Weinstein Company acquires Madonna's W.E. For U.S. release
From Madonna.com:
Abbie Cornish, James D'Arcy, Andrea Riseborough Star In Romantic Drama - Madonna's Feature Film Directorial Debut - 2011 Release Planned

New York, NY, June 13, 2011 - The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that it has acquired U.S. distribution rights to W.E., Madonna's directorial debut of a feature film. W.E. is a romantic drama co-written by Madonna and Alek Keshishian, produced by Madonna and Kris Thykier and executive produced by Scott Franklin (BLACK SWAN). It stars Abbie Cornish (LIMITLESS), Oscar Isaac (DRIVE), James D'Arcy (MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD), Andrea Riseborough (NEVER LET ME GO), Natalie Dormer ("The Tudors"), Richard Coyle (PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME), James Fox (SHERLOCK HOLMES) and Laurence Fox ("Inspector Lewis"). The announcement was made by TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein and President of Production Donna Gigliotti.

Spanning six decades, W.E. juxtaposes a contemporary love story with that of King Edward VIII and American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

"W.E. is about the nature of true love, and the sacrifices and compromises that are often made. I've wanted to tell this story for a very long time, and bringing it to life has been a great adventure for me. I'm looking forward to working with Harvey and The Weinstein Company on this film," commented Madonna.

"Madonna has really come into her own as a filmmaker with W.E.," said Weinstein. "She's taken one of the most famous romances of the 20th Century and brought it to life in a smart, sexy and thoroughly modern way. It's a terrific addition to our US release slate."

Commented Gigliotti, "The advance footage for W.E. was some of the most impressive I've ever seen. I can't wait for American audiences to have the opportunity to see this film."

The deal was negotiated for TWC by Weinstein, COO David Glasser and Michal Steinberg, Senior Vice President Business Affairs and Acquisitions; and by CAA, on behalf of the filmmakers.

SYNOPSIS
W.E. tells the story of two fragile but determined women - Wally Winthrop and Wallis Simpson - separated by more than six decades. In 1998, lonely New Yorker Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) is obsessed with what she perceives as the ultimate love story: King Edward's VIII's abdication of the British throne for the woman he loved, American divorcee Wallis Simpson. But Wally's research, including several visits to the Sotheby's auction of the Windsor Estate, reveals that the couple's life together was not as perfect as she thought. Weaving back and forth in time, W.E. intertwines Wally's journey of discovery in New York with the story of Wallis (Andrea Riseborough) and Edward (James D'Arcy), from the glamorous early days of their romance to the slow unraveling of their lives in the decades that followed.

ABOUT THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY
The Weinstein Company (TWC) is a multimedia production and distribution company launched in October 2005 by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the brothers who founded Miramax Films in 1979. TWC also encompasses Dimension Films, the genre label founded in 1993 by Bob Weinstein, which has released such popular franchises as SCREAM, SPY KIDS and SCARY MOVIE. Together TWC and Dimension Films have released a broad range of mainstream, genre and specialty films that have been commercial and critical successes, including Tom Hooper's THE KING'S SPEECH, winner of four 2011 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Since 2005, TWC and Dimension Films have released such films as GRINDHOUSE; I'M NOT THERE; THE GREAT DEBATERS; VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA; THE READER; THE ROAD; HALLOWEEN; THE PAT TILLMAN STORY; PIRANHA 3D; INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS; A SINGLE MAN; BLUE VALENTINE, THE COMPANY MEN; MIRAL; and SCRE4M. Upcoming releases include SPY KIDS 4, APOLLO 18, OUR IDIOT BROTHER, THE DETAILS and MY WEEK WITH MARILYN. Recently wrapping are I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT and COGAN'S TRADE. 

TWC is also active in television production, with credits including the Emmy Award-winning hit reality series "Project Runway," the new VH1 reality series "Mob Wives," and the critically acclaimed HBO comedy/crime series "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency." The company is producing two "Project Runway" spinoffs, "Project Runway: Masters" and "Project Runway: Accessories," which are expected to debut in 2011. The company currently has 17 series in different stages of development, including: "Marco Polo," a scripted historical series about the great explorer; "The Nanny Diaries," based on the hit book; and "The Mad Ones," adapted from the Mafia novel of the same name.


09 June - Something to remember: 10 years of Drowned World Tour
It's not an exaggeration to say that the last 10 years of Madonna's career have been significantly different from what fans got used to. After a 8-year break, Madonna had finally gone back to the stage and 10 years ago today, on June 9th, 2001, she kicked off her first Live Nation tour. Compared to her previous three tours, the Drowned World Tour seemed like a smaller project: Madonna penciled dates only to five European countries and the US. She also dropped the enormous venues of The Girlie Show and only visited arenas that hold people in the ten thousand-range. Because of the long break, it was obvious the demand would outdo the supply by a big margin, and all the tickets were instantly sold.

Just like on the 1993 tour, Madonna would start in Europe: she chose sunny Barcelona, Spain to unveil her brand new show. She enlisted Jamie King to direct and co-choreograph it, whom she had met several years ago, on the set of the Human Nature video. The other choreographer was carried on from her previous tour, Alex Magno, who ended up directing half of the Drowned World show. It was also the perfect time for Madonna to gather a brand new band. Then-current producer Mirwais introduced Stuart Price to her, who would end up helming several other Madonna projects in the future, instantly became the musical director of the show and would become famous of his "reinventions" of older Madonna songs.

The most crucial aspect of a new Madonna tour was the setlist. Obviously Madonna knew she would not be able to please everyone, and no matter what, the setlist would be subject to controversy. She could have done most of the Immaculate Collection with a couple of later-day hits thrown in, and then fans and critics would have complained that she lived in the past. Instead, she chose to highlight the majority of her last two albums, Ray Of Light & Music, thus ignoring most of the eras in her two decade long career. As a result, regardless of the instant sellouts, the show became one of the most dividing Madonna projects ever, with many of the longtime fans being disappointed at the lack of Into The Groove, Like A Prayer, Vogue or Erotica. On the other hand, the people who became fans of the post-SEX Madonna were obviously pleased and consider the Drowned World Tour Madonna's "truest" form.

As she had already established it on the Blond Ambition Tour, Madonna once again divided the show to 4 segments. According to Jamie King, they were meant to highlight some of Madonna's past eras, but in our opinion that concept was saved for the next tour. Instead, the Drowned World Tour was centered around Madonna's two then-most recent fashion statements, the Geisha and the Cowgirl, her newfound love of the guitar (both as a rock chick and the country crooner), combined with her eternal love to Spanish people, as one of her major recurrent themes of her live work. The concept of the show references J. G. Ballard's novel "Drowned World", with each segment representing one of the four basic elements: water, air, earth & fire.



Since it's been quite a long break for Madonna in terms of performing a whole show live, it was obvious the tour would not be as high-energy as her previous one. Apart from the breathtaking Japanese choreography of Sky Fits Heaven and the two closer party tunes, Madonna's movement onstage was very limited, the dancing was basic and in many songs she just stood or sat there. On the flipside, this clearly helped her vocals: while it's a controversial subject, it's assumed the Drowned World Tour uses the least amount of pre-recorded vocals on a Madonna show since 1987. Ironically both of these aspects would change on her later-day tours, where Madonna would end up dancing in the majority of the show, something not even the most optimistic fans were not confident to wish for. The tour would also be the first where Madonna used video screens behind herself on the stage, including her now-tradermark interludes where the focus is on a pre-recorded music video, giving her enough time to comfortably slip into the next outfit.

Madonna ended up performing eighteen songs from her catalog live, including highlights from 1994's Bedtime Stories, the two 80s classics La Isla Bonita & Holiday, and most of the aforementioned Ray Of Light & Music albums. Notable were the very theatrical medley of Mer Girl & Sky Fits Heaven, where Madonna as a Geisha, stood up against her enemies and defeated her demons, literally beating up and shooting them, and the feminist anthem What It Feels Like For A Girl, sung in Spanish, set to the Calderone & Quayle remix, featuring Madonna in a gorgeous Gaultier dress, dancing tango with her female dancers showing off their manly sides. The setlist also included the macabre Oh Dear Daddy, a simple song she always introduced as a "brand new song, never been heard before", which was more about not playing a character for a bit and do some audience interaction (which she would perfect on later tours as well).


The Drowned World Tour is also notable for being the only Madonna tour where she made a temporary, but random change in the setlist: when she reached the US mainland in July, she switched the haunting closer song of the Cowgirl segment Gone with one of her 90s hits, You'll See. She performed the David Foster ballad acoustic on 12 US shows, but they were not consecutive dates and she kept switching it with Gone, eventually going back to the Music track for the broadcast-on-tv Detroit date and the final dates in LA as well. Why Madonna didn't stick with either one is still unknown up to today, fans assume that either Gone was the more demanding vocally and she couldn't sing it on all dates, or that for a while she listened to criticism about the lack of hits and wanted to give something to the US fans.

Another unconfirmed rumour up to today is that Madonna wanted to include Amazing in the show, but dropped it when she learned that Warner wanted it as the 4th single of Music, promoted by the live performance of the tour. Ironically, we can only imagine Amazing in the place of Beautiful Stranger... Madonna did rehearse the Marvin Gaye cover I Want You, she would have sung it on a platform, above the audience, but staging difficulties didn't allow it. She would later revisit this concept on the Re-Invention Tour with the mobile catwalk.


As mentioned before, the tour was an instant success, all dates sold out (with just one date in New Jersey cancelled due to vocal issues), the Detroit show broadcast live on HBO and the DVD release also did well. But it was just the first step: Madonna started to tour regularly, every 2-3 years, her shows started to get bigger, her schedules larger, visiting more countries and continents, eventually adding a second leg of her Sticky & Sweet Tour in 2009. Because of her newfound touring power, Madonna did not renew her recording contract with Warner Bros. but signed to Live Nation, who would handle all aspects of her career. An unprecedented, and still scarce deal in the music industry, Madonna proved to be one step ahead. Us fans, owe it to the Drowned World Tour and all the people who attended it, that Madonna could prove to be a touring draw and sell millions of tickets, regardless of the reception of her music on the radio and the charts, which she cannot affect. But she's still working hard to prove to be an inspiring live performer.

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