Less than a year ago, there was a solid rumor going around that Madonna had her heart set on financing and starring in a film about Wallis Simpson, the American divorcee girlfriend (and later, wife) of King Edward VIII. Wallis was much maligned in her lifetime, especially since the general story goes that King Edward gave up the throne of England to marry Wallis. But, I’ve always felt there were other factors at play (including King Edward’s sympathy for Adolf Hitler), but Wallis has yet to have a major historical rewrite, or major cultural defense. Madonna, it seemed, had found her next project.
Since the initial flurry of rumors, things got quiet. My main problem with the whole idea of the project was that Madonna would not be up for the role of Wallis – Madonna doesn’t have the acting chops, and Wallis is an acting challenge. Fortunately, the latest rumors have Madonna stepping away from playing Wallis – but Madonna still has her heart set on writing and directing the film, doing the music, and maybe playing a supporting role. This isn’t going over well – and now Madonna can’t cast the Wallis role to save her life:
Madonna hasn’t exactly set the world on fire with her acting. So the Material Girl is turning her hand to directing a musical biopic based on the life of Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom King Edward VIII gave up his throne in 1936.
Except no one wants to Madge’s leading lady! Keira Knightley and Cate Blanchett have already passed.
“There are worries that Madonna will get too involved because she wrote the script and the music,” says a source. “And there the concern that she may want to take a small role which would discredit the film. But don’t cry for Her Madgesty – she’ll always have Evita!
[From Star Magazine, print edition, January 11, 2010]
Keira would be terrible as Wallis, so I’m not upset about that. But Blanchett would rock. Fortunately, Cate has too much sense to sign on for anything involving Madonna, so well done Cate! This seriously would be an amazing project if only Madonna would take herself and her ego out of it. Seriously, why couldn’t she just executive produce and be like Oprah? Give the project to some smart British director, like Stephen Daldry or someone like that.
Here are some old photos of Wallis and King Edward (when he became the Duke of Windsor, post-abdication):