Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Duchess of Windsor Actress from Madonna’s New Film: History is Wrong


In Madonna‘s upcoming film, “W.E.” history is going to take a back seat to fantasy.

According to 29 year old british actress Andrea Riseborough, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were not Nazi sympathizers–even though they visited the Third Reich, appeared in a newsreel with them, and are well documented historically to have made some horrendous social and political choices. As well, the Duchess of Windsor–Wallis Simpson–did not cheat on the Duke. And the Duke–formerly King Edward VIII–was brilliant.

Riseborough, who plays Wallis in “W.E.,” told me at the all star BAFTA/LA tea party yesterday at the Four Seasons Hotel in West Hollywood that I’ve got it all wrong, and so does everyone else.

“W.E.” in fact will be quite different than “The King’s Speech,” that’s for sure. But as one “Speech” actor said,m gesticulating as if weighing the two options: “Director Madonna? or Director Tom Hooper? Hmmm…”

According to Riseborough, who resembles the Duchess and is quite articulate: “Do you know how many people visited the Nazis? Everyone was enthralled with them.” She told me that the Duke and Duchess were just two of lots of people, and shouldn’ t be thought of badly. Also, the gist of “W.E.”– or least its back story–is going to be that Edward was the brilliant brother, and that Bertie–King George–played so brilliantly by Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech’–was the wanker.

I can just see the headlines now–Madonna Causing a Commotion with Historians! Maybe she should start reading here:

Riseborough also tells me that in the film, her character–Wallis Simpson–will have some fantastical cross-generational meetings in person with a modern character called Wally, played by Abbe Cornish.

The film, all done and now being edited, will probably be sent to the Cannes Film Festival for possible inclusion.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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