W.E. (2011)

More details regarding upcoming film which features Wallis Simpson and Edward in story of American woman years later. Written and directed by Madonna, she mentions some of the challenges in producing a film and finding period costumes. Source: Madonna's website

Based on an original screenplay, “W.E”, a film written by Madonna and Alek Keshishian is set to begin shooting July 5, 2010 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 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 VIII’s abdication for his love of Wallis Simpson. Andrea Riseborough has been cast in the role of Wallis Simpson. British star James D’Arcy will play the part of Edward VIII. Wally Winthrop”s Russian love interest Evgeni will be played by rising star Oscar Isaac and her husband William will be played by Richard Coyle. Art imitates life as the revered British acting dynasty provides father and son, James Fox and Laurence Fox 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 Linkthat 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.

Images from movie
Press conference (tiff)

Abbie Cornish (Wally Winthrop)

Oscar Isaac (Evgeni)

Richard Coyle (William Winthrop)

James D'Arcy (King Edward VIII)

Andrea Riseborough (Wallis Simpson)

James Fox (King George V)

Laurence Fox (King George VI)

Natalie Dormer (Queen Elizabeth)

Judy Parfitt (Queen Mary)

Geoffrey Palmer (Stanley Baldwin)


Natalie Dormer talks of portraying Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
Has Madonna's Wallis Simpson obsession gone too far?

Madonna discusses the challenges of securing the costumes for the film:
"The Duchess (of Windsor) has, like, 80 costume changes. She was dressed by Balenciaga and Christian Dior and Vionnet and Schiaparelli. A lot of the actual stuff is in museum archives (and) they're not going to give it to me."

But Madonna has found a way to get her way, she explains, "A lot of these couture houses have offered to make stuff for me.

"Just the costumes alone are pretty daunting because the Duke and the Duchess (of Windsor) were both real clotheshorses. It'll be a combination of real vintage pieces; others we'll get remade based on patterns that have been dragged out of the archives, and then new stuff we'll make.

"Next time, I'm writing a movie about one person in one place who has no wardrobe!"


  1. The actors lined up look amazing. The Fox family adds the interest for me. James and Laurence have acted together before so this is not a "new" pairing. They are both such good actors that it will be a grand show. I do, however, have my doubts about Madonna as a director. Eeeck. Hope she is better than her acting. And this is real her feature film debut. Daunting.

  2. Interesting idea for a film. I loved Abby Cornish in Bright Star.

  3. Laurel Ann, I love the Fox family of actors too! I think I'd prefer unknown actors to play George and Bertie, otherwise I think "oh look, there's James and Laurence Fox pretending to be royalty"! (I have the same reservation with Firth playing King George.) I echo your sentiment doubting Madonna's ability to direct & write? Hopefully she pulls it off!

    I loved her in Bright Star as well! She surpassed my expectations with her performance!



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