Madonna's romantic drama inspired by Wallis Simpson will premiere at the Venice Film Festival and the director has released an official statement.
Madonna says of W.E.: "I was always intrigued by the story of the King who gave up the throne for the woman he loved. Why did he do it and what was so special about Wallis Simpson? I wanted to tell it from a modern day point of view, so I created the story of Wally — a young woman trapped in an unhappy marriage. She knows she has to change her life and begins this journey from darkness to light with Wallis as her spiritual guide.
Wally's obsession with the love story of Wallis and the King is ultimately what saves her. She lives vicariously through this historical romance. Though it seems childish and obsessive, it forces Wally to ask questions, take risks and take charge of her life. To take the road less traveled. And eventually find freedom."
W.E., which stars Andrea Riseborough, Abbie Cornish, James D'Arcy, and Oscar Isaac, will be shown out of competition Thursday. It is scheduled for theatrical release in the U.S. December 9.
To celebrate the 2011 Video Music Awards , we asked Billboard.com readers to pick the best performances in VMA history -- and not surprisingly, pop megastars including Madonna, Michael Jackson , Britney Spears and Lady Gaga came out on top of the tally. Well, we camped out on the black carpet on Sunday and came away with similar picks. Stars, they're just like us!
4. Madonna, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera; 2003 - Like A Virgin/Hollywood
The Madonna-Britney kiss! Could we talk about anything else the day after the 2003 VMAs? And poor Christina, the camera cutting away as her and Madge lip-locked. The memorable medley kicked off with Britney and Christina Aguilera paying homage to Madonna's infamous Like a Virgin performance at the 1984 VMAs, topped off with Madonna -- dressed as a groom -- performing Hollywood. But let's be real, the kiss was all that really mattered to the masses.
6. Madonna, 1990 - Vogue
Talk about a cultural mashup: Madonna and co., clad in 18th century Marie Antoinette garb, taught the world how to Vogue, a performance style popularized in underground gay dance clubs of the '80s. Cue in one incredibly animated pants-less dancer, and VMA magic is made.
Yesterday, MTV presented its annual VMA's in LA. As announced, a tribute was given to Britney Spears. However, it wasn't Madonna doing the tribute but in fact Lady Gaga (dressed in drag).
Madonna wasn't in L.A. but in fact on her way to Venice, where she arrived today. Her movie W.E. will be screened at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday, September 1st at 10pm. On Friday, Madonna will present the first 'Gucci Award for Women in Cinema'. More from WWD:
"Madonna will present the first Gucci Award for Women in Cinema in Venice on Friday, during the city's International Film Festival, an event to be held at the Hotel Cipriani and followed by a dinner.
The preceding night, Gucci creative director Frida Giannini will attend the screening of Madonna's new film, W.E., and host a private dinner for the pop icon, who wrote and directed the movie based on the relationship between Wallis Simpson and Edward, the Prince of Wales. Gucci's new annual award recognizes an outstanding artistic achievement by a woman in filmmaking, selected from categories ranging from director and actor to screenwriter and costume designer. This year, nominees include actress Jessica Chastain, for her work in 'The Tree of Life'. The jury, led by Giannini, includes Robin Wright, James Franco and Valeria Golino. Gucci will donate $25,000 to the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at NYU Tisch School of the Arts in the name of the recipient of the award."
BookFinder.com tracks the most sought-after out-of-print titles in America. This ninth annual edition is based on BookFinder.com searches from the past 12 months. On this year's list there are a fair share of out-of-print mainstays such as Madonna's nearly perennial number one Sex, but also a host of interesting newcomers; here are a few examples.
Top 10 most sought after out-of-print books in 2011:
1. Madonna, Sex
2. Nora Roberts, Promise Me Tomorrow
3. Stephen King (as Richard Bachman), Rage
4. Stephen King, My Pretty Pony
5. Ray Garton, In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting
6. Luigi Serafini, Codex Seraphinianus
7. Johnny Cash, Man in Black
8. Norman Mailer, Marilyn: A Biography
9. H. Henry Thomas, Arithmetic Progress Papers
10. Kyle Onstott, Mandingo
Madonna is said to be collaborating with producer/songwriter Jean Baptiste.
Additional details on the project emerged earlier today suggesting that Jean Baptiste - full name Jean Baptiste Kouame - will be working with the 53-year-old on the record as well, Madonnarama reports.
Jean Baptiste has worked with a number of notable artists since 2003, including the Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna, Kid Cudi, Chris Brown and Jennifer Lopez.
Moreover, the website writes that Madonna is working with a demo vocalist named Charlene Ava for the new album. Ava will record the demos for all of the potential tracks on the record, with the recordings then being sent to Madonna for her to make the final selection. The process is said to be saving time on the album's production.
Finally, photographer Kevin Westenberg has been shooting studio pictures at the recording sessions with Madonna in the hopes that the images will be used in the future.
Since they began, MTV's Video Music Awards have offered wild TV. And thanks to the good folks at the network, we now know which is the "Most Outrageous Moment" in the 27-year history of the show.
And the winner is...
Madonna kissing Britney Spears and then Christina Aguilera. The singers liplocked at the 2003 VMAs during a medley performance of Like a Virgin and Hollywood. At the time, this was considered a symbolic "passing of the torch" from one female pop icon to her heir apparents. Others considered it needless titillation. But whatever it was, it was water cooler talk for days. And it secured 53 percent of the nearly 460,000 votes cast in the survey.
The Madonna/Britney/Christina moment beat out another famous VMA smooch -- that between Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley. That picked up 44 percent of the votes.
Here's a full list of the "Most Outrageous Moments":
Madonna kisses Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera (2003) -53.26%
Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley kiss (1994) - 44.06%
Diana Ross grabs Lil Kim's pasty-covered boob (1999) - 1.09%
Kid Rock vs. Tommy Lee fight (2007) - 0.57%
Courtney Love crashes Madonna interview (1995) - 0.34%
Nirvana's Krist Novoselic tosses bass/smacks self in face during "Lithium" (1992) - 0.36%
Rage Against the Machine bassist climbs the set (2000) - 0.21%
Howard Stern's Fartman appearance (1992) - 0.13%
The star's latest film will premiere at this year's festival. Kaleem Aftab reports on the rumours of a troubled production.
It seems strange to say, but Madonna may be struggling to find her voice. The singer's latest attempt to reinvent herself as a movie director has met with raised eyebrows and a certain amount of scepticism ahead of the world premier of her new film, W.E., at the Venice Film Festival.
We have been on this territory before. Her first foray into film-making was Filth and Wisdom, starring Gogol Bordello's lead singer, Eugene Hütz. The film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2008 and received mixed reviews, commonly along the lines of "not as bad as we were expecting from the star of Swept Away".
Madonna always proffered that her film about three flatmates leading diverse lives in London was her film school, a low-budget testing pad to learn all the whatnots of shooting a movie. Things presumably that her ex-husband the Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels director Guy Ritchie could not pass on to her.
So now we come to W.E., the feature film that Madonna has stated was written before her debut and is the movie she has always wanted to make. Bizarrely, the US distributor of the film, The Weinstein Company, is trying to push the movie as the pop star's directorial debut rather than as her second movie. The basis of this is absurd: they claim that at 81 minutes, Filth and Wisdom is a short film. There is not one body in the world that classes any film more than 80 minutes long as short. I'd like to hear the conversation where Harvey Weinstein tells Roman Polanski that his competition film Carnage is, at 79 minutes, a short film.
Nonetheless, the message is clear: the singer is now ready to put her head on the chopping block and be assessed as a director. W.E. keeps up Madonna's love affair with Britain. It tells the story of a New Yorker, Wally Winthrop, who is infatuated with what she believes is the ultimate love story: King Edward VIII marrying the American divorcee Wallis Simpson and giving up the throne. The film jumps back and forth between 1936 and 1998 New York, where Wally has a job working in Sotheby's Estate House, where there is an auction of royal memorabilia. Unhappy in her marriage to a psychiatrist, Wally falls in love with a mysterious Russian security guard.
The project has been shrouded in much secrecy but what has slipped out about the production doesn't necessarily bode well. The first hitch came even before film had rolled. The 53-year-old director seemed to have pulled off a coup by castingVera Farmiga, who was Oscar-nominated for Up in the Air, in the role of the American divorcee and Ewan McGregor as Edward.
But Farmiga fell pregnant and had to withdraw, and McGregor was never confirmed. The part instead went to James D'Arcy. These could just be seen as the usual production troubles, but Madonna admitted in Interview magazine to some frustration about the working methods of actors, constantly hearing words to the effect of, "That actor is not available except for these three weeks."
Once the film was announced, dissenting voices about the comportment of the director began to emerge. The Nine Songs star Margo Stilley was cast as Lady Thelma Furness in the period drama, but left the project. She stated, "I had the role, but we had artistic differences. She [Madonna] is really something."
It was not just actors that seemed to create casting issues. Nina Gold, one of Britain's top casting agents – she cast Vera Drake and the TV series Rome – left the project along with the Shakespeare in Love producer David Parfitt. Sources claimed that the duo had "creative differences" with Madonna and that she struggled to "collaborate and delegate".
The singer admits to liking arguments as part of the creative process. Madonna co-wrote the W.E. script with Alek Keshishian, who directed the 1991 documentary In Bed with Madonna, and she told Gus van Sant this about their collaboration: "We have a weird kind of brother-sister relationship. One minute we're hugging each other and crying on each other's shoulders, and the next minute were slamming the door in each other's face and not speaking to each other for a month."
Madonna admits that it's hard for her to hear "no": "It's torture for me, because I want to personally go to all the people who are saying no to me and say, 'Can't we just work something out?'... Film-making is such a collaboration. At a certain point, I suppose you do have to let go and trust people that you are working with."
Shooting took place last summer in London, the home counties, Paris and New York. It was her first major return to the capital after her divorce from Guy Ritchie. Whenever she would shoot at an East End location, it was almost unavoidable that the singer would be compared to her ex, given the speculation that his ridiculing of her move into film-making contributed to the end of the marriage.
The rising British star Andrea Riseborough was cast to play Wallis Simpson. The Newcastle-born 29-year-old, who came to prominence playing Margaret Thatcher in Margaret Thatcher: the Long Walk to Finchley, was last year feted for her turns in Never Let Me Go and Brighton Rock.
She says of the role, "I had to do a training regime to get into the Wallis state. She didn't eat. She had a stomach ulcer and so she couldn't eat, that has been really interesting because her physicality is extraordinary. She is riddled with tension. It was tough physically, a lot of massage to undo the knots that she created, the way she stands. But you have to be tense to pull off the gowns. They are works of architecture in themselves."
Riseborough only had good words to say about her director: "She is wonderful. She is very focused, driven, hard-working and supportive."
Playing Wally in 1998 is the 29-year-old Australian actress Abbie Cornish. The star of Limitless and Sucker Punch spoke of having to be constantly on her toes on set, not because Madonna was a tyrant but because of the need to be up on political events. "You need to be totally switched on to the news and current affairs to talk to her – she asks you questions all the time and expects you to be up on everything that's going on, from Libya to the latest advances in technology."
The road to the first public screening of W.E. as also been rocky. Expectations were that it would premier in Berlin, like Filth and Wisdom, but only a trailer was shown and Madonna turned up to push the film to ensure sales. The singer promised that she would do interviews supporting the film, before several buyers signed up. Cannes was next on the agenda, but when the film did not appear the singer claimed she was working on the sound mix for the film and it was not ready. There were unsubstantiated rumours of poor test screenings. As with many films rumoured to be in Cannes but not making the cut, the film has turned up at Venice Film Festival.
W.E. is playing out of competition, usually a bad sign for a film with such a high profile. However, the line-up for this year's festival is the strongest it has been for years, with new films from George Clooney, David Cronenberg and Roman Polanski all making their debuts. So it's perhaps no surprise that Madonna has been given a special screening. Whether this is a gimmick to ensure more star appeal on the Lido in a year that Venice wants to prove it is not a festival in decline, will only be revealed when W.E. is finally unveiled. Madonna failed to make the jump from singer to movie star, and it's going to be one of the stories of the festival to see if she can successfully make the jump behind the camera.
The last time Britney Spears and Madonna were on the MTV Video Music Awards stage together their infamous kissed created one of the most memorable moments in MTV history.
Now the pair are set to reunite again when Madge presents Brit with a special tribute award during Sunday's VMA show.
Spears, who is set to perform her hits Hold It Against Me and I Wanna Go, will also watch famous fans, including Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Demi Lovato, Nicki Minaj and Janet Jackson join together on stage in a special musical tribute to her, according to the website's sources. The tribute - which is usually reserved for performers who are much older than 29-year-old Spears - was reportedly set up to ensure that the I'm a Slave 4 U singer makes an appearance at the show. "Britney's young to receive an award like this, but the producers know that it will force Britney to come to the show," the source claimed. "That will help boost ratings."
Amy Winehouse's contribution to music will be honored by singing legend Tony Bennett, who will introduce never-before-seen footage from his March recording session with the late soul singer at London's legendary Abbey Road Studios. The session, which was Winehouse's last, saw the duo record Body and Soul for Bennett's upcoming Duets II album, out Sept. 20. "It was a thrill to record with Amy Winehouse and when you listen to the recording of Body and Soul, it is a testament to her artistic genius and her brilliance as one of the most honest musicians I have ever known," Bennett said in a statement. All proceeds will go towards the Amy Winehouse Foundation, a charity set up by her father, Mitch Winehouse, to help young people with drug problems.
The 2011 MTV Video Music Awards will air live on MTV direct from Los Angeles’ Nokia Theater on Monday, August 29, 2011.
With the VMA's only days away, the promo is building up. Looking back at the highlights of the award show's history, MTV has summoned cats and dogs to reenact some of the most memorable scenes. Of course, Madonna's performance are on top of that list. Check the pictures of these cute cats, imitating the famous kiss between Madonna, Britney and Christina at the VMA 2003. Also the Like A Virgin performance of the first VMA in 1984 served as inspiration. Funny - just unfortunate that the videos are only availble for the US audience...
From MTV: Triple kisses aren't only limited to the confines of college dormitories and suburban sports bars. They are also widely available for your viewing pleasure on various local cable channels... like MTV! We're referring, of course, to the triple kiss that rocked the world at the 2003 VMAs between Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Madonna. Don't quote us, but that might have been the most epic triple kiss OF ALL TIME.
That is until we decided to make three cats reenact it!!!! Yes, ladies and gents, from the same people who brought you two dogs reenacting Lady Gaga in a meat dress handing Cher her meat purse and a cat dressed as Madonna reenacting her 1984 VMA performance of Like A Virgin comes our latest VMA animal reenactment video!
Starring Mazzy as Britney Spears, Muncie as Christina Aguilera, and Mona as Madonna, our latest VMAs Gone Wild video takes us back to that famous moment when two pop star brides (Brit and Xtina) were wed by pop star queen Madonna. And we all know what happened after that! (Spoiler alert: They all kiss each other, keep up.) If three cats kissing isn't enough to make you watch the video (um, what's wrong with you?), then at least press play for the Justin Timberlake cameo. Well played, editors!
17th August 2011: The Smirnoff Co. today launches the next Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project with the audacious goal of getting 10 million people to discover, share and swap the most original nightlife experiences in 50 countries. The Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project is an ambitious attempt to discover the world's most unique and interesting nightlife, culminating in one-of-a-kind experiences on the same night all over the world. This year, Madonna joins the Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project to find the best dancer to join her next tour.
Revellers worldwide are invited to co-create and participate in the Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project by contributing ideas on what makes their local nightlife distinct in the categories of drinks, ance, fashion, music, places, and more creating a nightlife cocktail of unique events. The most inspiring suggestions from each region will be captured online and then exchanged with another country in November. By participating online, fans will have the chance to win a place at one of the global events or experience another country's party at a Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project event in their own city. Go to www.facebook.com/smirnoff or www.facebook.com/madonna to find out more.
One of the consistent aspects in nightlife culture around the world is the importance of dance. As well as submitting ideas on what makes their country's nightlife special, fans can enter an exclusive dance competition online. Madonna will attend one of the selected Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project experiences where finalists will compete in front of her for the winning spot. The winner may get the opportunity to join Madonna on her next tour as one of her dancers.
"What attracted me to the Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project is the combination of participating in the celebration of nightlife around the world and the opportunity to discover the world's best unknown dancers," said Madonna. "The best dancers are always in the clubs looking for the most original experience, just like Smirnoff is doing."
The Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project strives to showcase, mix and unite the world through unique nightlife and as such the best dancers from around the world will be highlighted for their own style and flair. The submission process for the dance competition begins today and runs until October 10th. To enter, hopefuls must submit a 60-second dance video. For details on the dance submission process and terms and conditions, visit www.smirnoff.com or www.madonna.com.
Simon Burch, Global Brand Director for The Smirnoff Co., said, "Smirnoff mixes original nightlife from around the world and gives everyone the chance to be there through extraordinary, one-of-a-kind experiences. Who better to decide the best in the dance category than Madonna herself?"
As the world's number one vodka, The Smirnoff Co. has been at the heart of nightlife culture for generations and now hosts the world's biggest spirits community on Facebook with people participating in The Smirnoff Co. events, commenting and sharing information on nightlife around the world.
The 50 countries participating in the Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project include: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Dubai, Ecuador, El Salvador, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Romania, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, Trinidad, Turkey, Uruguay, United States, Venezuela and Vietnam.The Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project, including the exclusive dance competition, is the first component of a multi-faceted agreement between Madonna and her partner Live Nation and Diageo, the parent company of The Smirnoff Co. More details to be released in the coming months. For updates on Madonna, please visit www.facebook.com/madonna.
The terms & conditions @ Smirnoff.com includes the most promising news for the fans:
Rehearsals for the Tour are provisionally due to commence in the first quarter of 2012 and the Tour is provisionally scheduled to run throughout 2012 and possibly beyond. Entrants must therefore be available to participate in the Tour for these dates if they are to be in with a chance of being chosen as the Selected Dancer. Entrants must also be aware that dates for the Tour are provisional only and are subject to change.
Countries/continents which may be included in the Tour are USA, South America, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Entrants must however be aware that the destination countries for the Tour are not yet confirmed and are subject to change at any time.
In the September issue of Vanity Fair, Krista Smith reports on W.E., Madonna’s feature-length directorial debut, while Tom Munro snaps its stylish evocation of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The costumes for the movie were designed by Arianne Philips, who has also worked with Madonna for many tour costumes, most notably the geisha gown with 26ft sleeves for the performance of Frozen on the Drowned World Tour.
Composer Abel Korzeniowski posted the first official promo pictures of Madonna's upcoming movie on his Facebook page:↑ Back to top of page