Madonna’s Directorial Feature Debut to start Principal Photography today.
Based on an original screenplay, “W.E”, a film written by Madonna and Alek Keshishian is set to begin shooting this summer in Europe (UK and France) and the US.
"W.E" tells two parallel love stories separated by more than six decades. Acclaimed actress Abbie Cornish (Sucker Punch, Bright Star, Elizabeth: The Golden Age) has been cast in the role of Wally Winthrop – a young married New Yorker in 1998 who is obsessed with what she perceives as the ultimate romantic love story, King Edward V111’s abdication for his love of Wallis Simpson. Andrea Riseborough has been cast in the role of Wallis Simpson. Riseborough is best known for her outstanding Bafta Nominated performance of Margaret Thatcher in the acclaimed BBC drama “The Long Walk to Finchley” and will soon be seen in Brighton Rock. British star James D’Arcy (Master and Commander, Secret Diary of a Call Girl) will play the part of Edward VIII. Wally Winthrop”s Russian love interest Evgeni will be played by rising star Oscar Isaac (Robin Hood, Sucker Punch) and her husband William will be played by Richard Coyle (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time). Art imitates life as the revered British acting dynasty provides father and son, James Fox (Sherlock Holmes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Bafta nominated A Passage to India, Bafta winner The Servant) and Laurence Fox (Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Becoming Jane) in the roles of King George V and his son, Bertie.
1936 England - Wallis Simpson, an American woman, captured the heart of King Edward VIII. Already divorced and married to her second husband when she met Edward, then the Prince of Wales in London, the two fell in love. However, once crowned, Edward was told by the Church and the Prime Minister that he could not marry Wallis and remain King… He abdicated, giving up the throne to be with the woman he loved. Once married and known as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, they lived out what many considered to be the romance of the century.
1998 N.Y - Wally Winthrop has a troubled past and moves to New York from the South to work in Sotheby’s Estate department. She gives up her job to marry a successful psychiatrist but the marriage is unhappy and Wally finds herself bored, frustrated and often alone. She seeks refuge in her obsession with what she believes to be the ultimate romantic love story, King Edward VIII ‘s abdication for his love of Wallis Simpson. When Wally discovers that there is going to be an auction of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s Estate at Sotheby’s, she takes the opportunity to return to her old hunting ground to try to understand the nature of the great love affair through the artifacts that once belonged to the couple. While at Sotheby’s, Wally meets Evgeni, a Russian security guard, with a mysterious past. As she immerses herself deeper into the love story of Wallis and Edward, while spending more time away from her marriage, she finds herself falling in love.
We travel back and forth in time with Wally and Wallis, two fragile but determined women whose lives become inextricably linked. However, as the story unravels it becomes apparent that Wallis Simpson’s life was not as perfect as Wally had thought.
The film will be produced by Colin Vaines (producer Coriolanus, exec producer London Boulevard, The Gangs of New York and The Young Victoria) with Executive Producers Kris Thykier (producer The Debt, Kick-Ass, Harry Brown, exec producer Stardust) and Nigel Wooll (exec producer Miss Potter, co-producer GI Jane, White Squall). The production team include Production Designer Martin Childs (Oscar Winner Shakespeare in Love, Oscar Nominated Quills, The Boy in Striped Pyjamas), Director of Photography, Hagen Bogdanski (The Lives of Others, The Young Victoria), Costume Designer, Arianne Phillips (Oscar Nominated Walk the Line, Bafta Nominated A Single Man) and Hair and Make Up Designer - Jenny Shircore (Oscar Winner Elizabeth, Bafta Winner and Oscar Nominated The Young Victoria).