Madonna’s movie, W.E. makes its world premiere out of competition tonight at the 68th edition of Venice Film Festival.
Madonna‘s film tells the story of celebrated romance between Britain’s King Edward VIII and the twice divorced American Mrs. Wallis Simpson, and the grave constitutional crisis it caused.
W.E., the Madonna’s film title stands for the initials of the two lovers, Wallis and Edward, although he close family and his mistresses called him David.
The movie subverts the Royal Family heritage genre by introducing a modern-day parallel, about an unhappily married New Yorker named Wally Winthrop. Madonna uses this second storyline to counterpoint and comment on what happened to the Duchess of Windsor, as Wallis Simpson became when she finally married the King Edward VIII after he renounced the throne for her in 1936.
Madonna studied the crisis for years before deciding to make this movie.
Everybody knows that the affair cost the King his kingdom and an empire, but Madonna, the film-maker, who wrote the screenplay with her old friend Alek Keshishian, raised the question of what it cost Wallis Simpson.
Wallis Simpson became the Duchess of Windsor and lived a life of luxury but, as she points out in the movie, the King “used me to escape his prison, only to incarcerate me in my own”. Wallis Simpson was played beautifully by Andrea Riseborough.