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Madonna says she's ready to face the critics

posted 24 Oct 2011, 03:09 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 24 Oct 2011, 03:09 ]

Madonna says she is "prepared" to face the critics for the singer-turned filmmaker's feature directorial debut, "W.E.".

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (OCTOBER 23, 2011) (REUTERS) - Madonna is ready to defend her directorial feature film debut "W.E.".

At the film's premiere at the BFI London Film Festival, she told Reuters Television on Sunday (October 23) that much of the scrutiny "W.E" receives is because of her name attached to it. "Yes, I do", she said, adding "I'm prepared."

"W.E." is Madonna's take on the story of Wallis Simpson, the American socialite for whom King Edward VII abdicated the British throne prior to World War II.

The film, which stars Andrea Riseborough (Wallis Simpson) and Abbie Cornish (Wally Winthrop), received mixed verdicts when it first screened at the recent Venice Film Festival in September.

Despite all that, Madonna seems passionate about her project and its main character who has been subjected to much media attention during her lifetime, just like the director herself.

"She was, I could relate to that and I could relate to the aspect of her character where people -- I think she was deeply misunderstood by people but -- I have the privilege of defending myself and she did not so I'm gonna defend her," Madonna said.

The 53-year-old also spoke about what inspired her to make a film about Wallis Simpson's life.

"Well I think it's a complex story. I don't think there's any real there's no black and white. There's no real clear cut, villains, good guys or bad guys. It was important for me to portray everyone in the film as a human being and to show their flaws and their imperfections -- and their good sides so that you see that they're all human beings but we're all human beings and we make mistakes -- and hopefully everyone will see Wallis Simpson as a human being. That was my goal."

However, the star admitted that the film, which was shot on location in England, France and the United States proved to be a big task to complete.

"With 43 different locations, 82 costume changes for the duchess and -- every actor -- speaking with a different accent than the accent they have, it was, and two different time periods it was a real challenge, absolutely."

Despite all that, Madonna's cast had only good things to say about their director.

"It was wonderful, it was, she was so passionate and so prepared", said Andrea Riseborough who plays the part of Wallis Simpson. "Everyday there was such a care and attention to every single detail. And we also had wonderful fun."

Her co-star, actor James D'Arcy, who plays King Edward VII, agreed.

"She's very clear, she knows exactly what she wants so that makes life much easier because there is no wishy washy. She -- you arrived and she had a very strong vision of where the scene was gonna go. And we just had to try and faithfully serve that as best we could," he said.

For both actors the experience of playing Wallis Simpson and King Edward VII had an impact on how they now view the famous couple.

"When you have an objective relationship with something somebody and then you get very much inside of it it always changes a great deal. And you no longer have any kind of objective to it or with it I'm not sure on the correct grammar -- any longer. So completely, it's completely changed," said Riseborough.

D'Arcy, said it is difficult to get through to the truth.

"It's kind of interesting cause everybody thinks they know Edward and Mrs Simpson, but there are so many books written about them that in fact whatever your viewpoint of them was I could give you some evidence to support that. So after that it's a bit of a blank canvas, because they were either dreadful people or they were madly in love with each other and you know -- there is evidence in both directions."

"W.E." will release across the UK on January 20 next year.