At Sunday’s MoMA screening of “W.E.,” Madonna was asked about the hardest part in co-writing and directing her revisionist bio of Wallis Simpson.
“Actually it’s all hard. Making art, being creative, is always the challenge,” Madonna said of the Weinstein Co. release. “Once you go from writing to surviving the shoot and editing the production, it’s all hard.”
“W.E.” will rehabilitate the duchess’ reputation, said Andrea Riseborough, who plays Simpson — the twice-divorced woman who prompted King Edward VIII to abdicate in 1937.
“The propaganda fed to the British public — but also internationally — by Stanley Baldwin affected our opinion of Wallis Simpson,” she said at the Cinema Society event. “We were subjected to a huge amount of propaganda without our knowing it.” As for the duchess in exile, the actress added, “She married someone she truly loved but there was an emptiness in that she could never live up to the pressure of having to be as exciting as a kingship.”
Valentino, who met Simpson in ’68 (“She did several dresses of mine”), recalled a not particularly happy couple. “Fighting, fighting,” he said of the duke and duchess. “Of course, if you read some books, it’s a little different. But Madonna, she picks up good things.”