Morton Minute Exclusive: Madonna 'Acting' Up Again

Madonna is at it -- and so are dozens of others. After the massive box office success of The King's Speech which won an Oscar for the suavely delightful Colin Firth, and The Queen which garnered an Oscar for Helen Mirren, Hollywood is combing the archives for films on the British royal family.

The recently made for TV movie on William and Catherine's romance, which won the 'so bad it's un-missable' award for car crash viewing, showed that there is no such thing as a royal flop at the box office.

(Update - Please note correction - IMDB states the stars for the Madonna directed film, W.E. - 2011 - are Abbie Cornish, Richard Coyle and Natalie Dormer) Madonna, whose acting career never caught fire after Desperately Seeking Susan has wisely chosen to go behind the lens. She has corralled the likes of James D'Arcy, Abbie Cornish and Vera Farmiga, nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Up In the Air, to take the lead roles of Edward Vlll, later the Duke of Windsor, and American socialite Wallis Simpson. Entitled W.E, the movie charts the ill-fated romance between the future king and his twice-married East Coast mistress who was once said to have worked in a Chinese brothel.

With director screenwriter Alek Keshishian, who directed Truth or Dare, the 1991 documentary about Madonna's backstage life, providing the screenplay, the movie will be  a contemporary sexy  take on the  royal crisis that shook the House of Windsor to its roots.

It's not only the one-time queen of pop -- only her ex-husband Guy Ritchie was invited to the wedding of the century -- who is creatively dining at the royal trough. Stephen Evans, the veteran producer of the Madness of King George III, which starred Nigel Hawthorne and Helen Mirren (again) and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, featuring Julia Roberts and George Clooney, is raising the money to make a movie about Ken Wharfe, the avuncular former bodyguard to the late Diana, Princess of Wales.

Unlike the Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston movie, The Bodyguard  -- which by the way Diana saw the day it came out -- it is doubtful that there will be much in the way of romance between protector and protected. I wonder if it will look at the relationship between Diana and another bodyguard, Barry Mannakee who was suspected of having an affair with the princess. When he died in a motorcycle accident, Diana could never believe it was really an accident.

Then there is my contribution to the New Wave of royal cinema. In the past CBS broadcast  a movie of the week called The Biographer about how I managed to smuggle my blockbuster biography, Diana Her True Story into the public gaze without being stopped by the Establishment. It was a kind of royal take on All the President's Men. The Deep Throat of course was Diana. Liverpool-born actor Paul McGann, who came to fame in Withnail and I, played me and Shakespearan actor Brian Cox performed heroics as my publisher Michael O'Mara. There was even a role for Faye Dunaway as a pushy American. (Is that a tautology?) It is something of a lost gem - certainly in comparison to the new William and Kate movie.

Only this morning a letter arrived from a film production company wanting to make another  movie about that extraordinary time in 1992 when the monarchy was placed under critical scrutiny as a result of the Diana book. It is considered a 'historical drama.' Just makes you feel old.

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As one of the world’s best-known biographers and a leading authority on modern celebrity, Morton has been called "the king of celebrity biographers." He became an overnight sensation with the publication of his groundbreaking 1992 biography revealing the secret world of the late Diana, Princess…

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