W.E. is all about passion and sacrifice, with Wallis Simpson’s romance with King Edward VIII-who gave up the throne for her-at its core. Is that what drove you to cowrite this film?
Yeah. I wanted to know what they gave up for each other-and was it worth it? Because when a man gives up a kingdom for you, you spend your life making him feel like a king.
Do you long for that kind of devotion in your life?
When I first read about Wallis, I thought, “Being loved that much must be incredible.” But I think she felt suffocated. However you slice it, there’s no such thing as perfect love. But I believe in love. I’m a romantic.
From a distance. I don’t know much about them. I had dinner with Prince Charles once. He stole lettuce off my plate. [Laughs] He was quite fun.
Your W.E. cast studied dancing, bagpipes and piano. Sounds like Madonna‘s Finishing School for Actors.
Exactly. I called my house in England “Camp W.E.” We had rooms for dialect coaches, dancing, wig testing and fittings. My kids [Lourdes, 15, Rocco, 11, David, 6, and Mercy, also 6] ran into actors everywhere. Lola would say, “Mom, why is Oscar Isaac at my piano? I have a lesson right now!” Because I’d forget. [Laughs]
What does she think of W.E.?
She loves it. She’s a teenager, so she likes all the dancing and the clothes.
How about its message that there are no fairy tales?
The fantasy of a boy or a man being in charge of your fate or happiness in life? I think she’s clear that’s not a reality.
Pretty mature for a 15-year-old.
Well, her mother’s been divorced twice, so … [Laughs] She’s had a few high school experiences where people have let her down, and she’s said, “You know, Mom, I’m really just going to focus on schoolwork and not think about boys so much.” And I’m like, “Great! That’s an excellent idea!”
And you didn’t have to say a word.
Oh, no. It wouldn’t work if I told her anyways. She really doesn’t care what I think in that department. Or in any department!