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Madonna gives Wallis Simpson a modern interpretation

02 SEPTEMBER 2011

Sweeping into the Venice Film Festival, complete with a glamorous Forties-inspired wardrobe, it was clear Madonna was channelling Wallis Simpson, the two-time divorcee who rocked the British monarchy and is the subject of her new movie.

At Thursday's premiere of W.E., the superstar singer looked stunning in a sensational butterfly pattern design created by Milan fashion house Vionnet and red sunnies, with her hair styled in old Hollywood waves.

 

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Earlier in the day, she'd imitated Mrs Simpson's famous monochrome look with a black 'ladies who lunch' day dress.

Madonna, 53, told the press that she idenitifies with the glamorous American, for whom King Edward VIII abdicated.

Which is why she felt so well-placed to write and direct the film, which depicts the Thirties love story alongside a modern-day breakdown of a New York marriage.

She said: “It’s important to me not to make her a saint – not by any stretch of the imagination, because I don’t think she was – but to portray her as a human being.

“What attracted me to this story? I was completely and utterly swept up in trying to understand the reason that this man, Edward VIII, would give up the throne for the woman he loved. I wanted to get to the bottom of it.”

 

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Madonna explained that she felt a special connection to Wallis.

“I identified with her in that I think it’s very common when people become celebrities or public figures or icons, that we are often reduced to a soundbite,” she said.

“I think there was obviously some kind of subconscious attraction to her. I did go through periods of feeling I was an outsider when I first moved to England, but I didn’t feel like that when I had lived there 10 years.”

Madonna – who lived in Britain with her ex-husband Guy Ritchie – also said the success of the Oscar-winning The King's Speech gives audiences a point of reference.

She explained that the two films examine the same historic period from distinct points of view.



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Madonna said she received support for the project from both her ex-husbands, Sean Penn and Guy.

There was no sign of her current companion, 24-year-old French dancer Brahim Zaibat, with whom she holidayed on the French Riviera last week.

Instead, she was supported by the film's young stars Andrea Riseborough wearing a lemon Christian Dior Couture creation and Abbie Cornish looking dramatic in a purple graduated floor-sweeper by Atelier Versace.

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