From the interview by journalist Laura Ayerza, originally published in Hello! Magazine, in February 1996, before starting the film.


Why were you so keen to do Evita?

"Because it was in my destiny, that's the simple truth. This is something that goes way back. I've been planning it for a long time and I've just got it now.
First I was chosen by Oliver Stone for the role, but we had creative differences and the project fizzled out. When Stone went to Argentina, there was some unpleasantness and President Menem's government stopped helping him. Now Parker's reaping what Stone sowed and he has to placate and persuade the government that this project is serious and that he's not trying to twist Argentina's history"

You were determined to play Eva Peron

"When I found out that Alan Parker was working on a project and that Michelle Pfeiffer would be playing Eva, I got very nervy and I heard a voice inside me saying: Madonna, you've got to do it.
I don't know if God took a hand or what happened, but I soon heard that Michelle wasn't interested because she'd had a baby. So then, one night, I sat down and wrote a letter to Alan Parker. It was like an inspiration from God. I couldn't control what I was writing, I didn't know what I was doing, but I sent it all the same. In it I used all the arguments I could to convince him that I wanted to do Evita. It's not about money, just simple fascination".

And what happened next?

A month after I sent the letter, Alan Parker rang me so that we could meet and chat about the film. It was a slow, painful process because the budget for Evita was enormous and Parker didn't want to take any false steps. After several meetings, he formally asked me to play the role of Eva. Me, Evita!
I had to pinch myself to make sure that it was really happening. I didn't want to get too excited about it while the process was still going on.
The uncertainty was killing, I was a bag of nerves, but I just had to wait. I don't think anyone, not anyone, could have prayed as hard as I did for Evita to go ahead. I put on amulets and crosses, lit candles, and even consulted fortune tellers who told me that I was going to get the role of Evita.

Do you think people want to see Madonna in this role?

I do think people want me to do it. But they want me to do it well.

What attracted you to Evita?

Her courage in not letting herself be beaten, ever.
She fought to the end. Evia had influence over a lot of people who believe she was a saint and a source of inspiration.

In what ways do you think Eva and Madonna are alike?

I too came from nothing. I never had any relations in the world I move today. Both Eva and I had our hearts broken at a young age. I felt I'd been abandoned when my mum died. I understand Eva's beginnings very well because they were similar to mine. We both achieved our objectives, but in totally different ways. Everything Eva did was in the name of Peron and his government. What I do is in the name of freedom of speech, liberation.

Is there a new Madonna these days?

Yes, there is. I was always a spiritual person, but the thing is that I've grown; what I did and my way of expressing myself went through many stages.
As I grew, I learnt to fight my battles more intelligently. Now instead of fighting for everything I only blow up about the things which are most important to me.
I feel as though I'm at the start of something new, like a completely different stage of my life. I feel as though I've just left my childhood behind, and I had really long childhood! But I don't regret anything I did. Because what I did before brought me to what I am today. I love what I'm living now. I'm happy with my change.

Wouldn't you like to get out of the fast lane sometimes?

My life isn't that crazy, believe me. I have quiet moments, and I've had relationships with moments of peace, too.
Nowadays, being with someone I love is a top priority. Before, none of the men In had relationships with could understand why I was so restless. Why I couldn't listen. The I changed, and my priorities are changing too.

What does a man who's not famous do to approach a star like yourself?

That all depends on the man. If he hasn't got money but is confident within himself, then he won't have any problem finding me. But if he's insecure and thinks, I'm not good enough for her, I don't think he'd attract me.

Don't they get scared off by all that power?

On the occasions when I've frightened men and they've run away from me, either they came back, or I did. But it's understood that I ahve to go through that stage.

Do you believe everything is predestined?

I believe in reincarnation. I've spoken to a lot of people who know about it, and I'm just beginning to understand. For years, all the fortune tellers I went to told me I was going to play Eva Peron in the cinema. And now it's coming true, so it was predestined.
I have a strange affinity for Latin culture, in my music, friends, the relationships I have, food and art. A lot of people have told me I could have been Latin in my older life. Everything is connected, nothing exists by chance. Life gives us symbols and it's up to us to discover and follow them.

Do you believe you were Eva Peron in a previous life?

I don't, but a lot of people do. I'm convinced I have a connection with Frida Kahlo and Lola Martinez

Was that other, more scandalous, Madonna anything more than just a clever publicity stunt?

No, it wasn't a gimmick to get publicity. A lot of the things I did, like the book Sex, were quite abviously an expression of what was happening to me at the time. Unfortunately, since sex is a taboo subject, the world rejected many of my words and ideas, and wrote me off as a strange, demoniacal creature. Something I'm not.
But because I really get to people, touch them where it hurts most, they react in a very strange way: first they're interested, then they get angry with themselves and then they punish me.
They did the same with Eva Peron; they criticised her like hell for everything, for her jewels, the clothes she bought, the swear words she used, for the manners she lacked. And they all said: She's so cheap and horrible that she can't be intelligent. Yet of course she was. People are always afraid of women who stand out, who are pretty and don't repress their sexuality. In this society, if you want to be respected as an intelligent person, you have to repress your sexuality.

Does fame have a high price?

When you're up on a pedestal, they say you're a prostitute, a crazy woman, a nymphomaniac and I don't know how many things besides. I get mad when people make judgements about famous people they don't know. Ninety five per cent of what they write about me is false.

How would Eva Peron have got on in this era of press freedom?

Poor thing, they'd have driven her crazy, the same as they're doing to me. The press can make or break you. Look at Lady Di.

Are you friends with her?

No. Once we chatted for ten minutes at a dinner at Roberto Devorik's house. Through Roberto, I invited her to a dinner I held in London, but she couldn't come because Prince Harry was on his own. That was it; we talked a bit about life that one time we met.

What are your current ambitions?

Filming Evita. Doing it well. And then, maybe, thinking about a baby.

And what does Madonna think about Madonna?

I always have a high level of anxiety because I'm an artist. But I think Madonna's better now than she was two years ago, for example. Then I couldn't even sit down and listen to someone quietly. I had to be moving. I needed to be motivated the whole time. I needed to be busy. Now I can value peace and relaxation. My yin and yang are more balanced.
As for film premieres, I try to avoid all that, it makes me furious.

Furious?

The business of Hollywood and all the stupidity surrounding the film world makes me sick. When I was in London recording the music for Evita, I loved the fact that no one talked film to me. I felt like just another person. My friend, David Collins, introduced me to some great people. I was scared when I went there because I didn't know anyone, but I had to be fabulous time.
They can talk about anything: art, literature, architecture, design. In Hollywood all they talk about is the next film that's coming out, or the contracts that have been signed. It's really boring. Film is important, but a lot of the films that are being made today aren't at al interesting. Nobody makes films with a message. Film has become just business. It's very sad.

What is good cinema to you?

Films by Pasolini, Bertolucci, Bunuel. Those people made movies that meant something. With small budgets they created unforgettable cinema. I'm interested in that kind of film, not the sort produced by Hollywood today.

Is it true about your romance with John John Kennedy? That you waited for him nude, wrapped in lettuce leaves?

No, it's not true.

Marilyn Monroe used to sleep in nothing but a few drops of Chanel No 5. What do you sleep in?

I feel really boring: I wash my face and teeth and put on my pyjamas just like everyone else to go to sleep.

Temptations?

Chocolates and whipped cream.

What are you hoping from your trip to Buenos Aires?

To convince the Argentinians that I'm serious. I admire Eva Peron and I'm going to depict her the best way I can. It's a great honour for me to do Evita.

Are you going to leave something behind in Buenos Aires?

Yes, the real Madonna.





From the CNN interview with Larry King. January 19, 1999

Was Evita difficult?

Oh, yes. That's an understatement.

Because?

Well...

Crowd scenes?

It was difficult. t was difficult on every level. It was difficult because we were, you know, filming in Argentina. And we were making a movie about a person that was a very controversial political figure. So there were mob scenes about people who didn't want us to make the movie and mob scenes about people who wanted us to make the movie. And then, you know, the heat and the thousands of extras, and you know, we were moving around the world to different continents. And I was pregnant. And you know, it was a long shoot. And we were making a musical. I mean...

Was it tougher? It was kind of an opera.

Yes.

There was no spoken word in it.

Not really, no. And it was -- I think, you know -- I think that Alan really was -- you know, we were all doing something, and we weren't sure what we were doing in a way.

Alan...

Alan Parker, yes. I mean, I think everyone believed in what we were doing and everyone was really passionate about it, but no one's ever done a movie like that before, so it was a risk.

Were you surprised at how well Antonio Banderas sang?

I was. I was very surprised. He has a lovely voice.

Did you like working with him?

I loved working with him. He's great. He really is.

Good friend?

Yes. Great actor, great singer, charming man, very generous. Yes. He was great.