Yesterday I went to see Die Another Day in the movie theatre. I'm not particularly a Bond fan, but I must say I liked this one (and not just because Madonna happened to appear in it ;-). Since this is a Madonna site, I'll limit my review to the Madonna elements in the movie.
Die Another Day starts off right away, with Pierce Brosnan on a mission in North Korea. Soon however his cover is blown and he gets arrested by the 'bad guys'. Then the opening credits start; with an speed-up version of Madonna's Die Another Day in the background, we see Bond getting tortured in a North Korean dungeon.
There are some obvious similarities with the video for the song: Bond is dragged into a room - just like Madonna is in the beginning of the video - and afterwards the guards hold his head in the water tank. Once the credits are done, we jump 14 months into the future. Madonna's song is heard once more in the movie: when Bond and the Bond girls Jinx and Miranda are on a party in the Ice Palace, you can hear an uptempo instrumental version in the background.
It's 45 minutes into the movie when Madonna herself makes her appearance. Bond arrives for some fencing lessons and when he enters the room, Madonna is standing there, with her back to him. Bond points his epee at her and when she raises her own sword to parry, he evades it. Appreciately Madonna grins:"I see you know how to handle your weapon well", to which Bond replies: "I have been known to raise my tip from time to time".
Meanwhile we see two fencers in full action; they turn out to be Miranda (Rosamund Pike) and Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens). Madonna first talks about Miranda, with the complementary innuendo. Then she talks about Gustav and asks if Bond wants her to introduce him.
Before Bond and Gustav get to their fight, they ask Verity if she wants to place a bet, to which she replies with her already famous end line "No thanks, I don't like cock fights". Once they start fencing, we don't get to see Verity anymore.
The cameo is just a few minutes, but it's a cool scene and Madonna really pulls it off very good. She acts pretty natural for a change and the scene flows very well. The lesbian innuendo has been largely exaggerated by the press and stays limited to some double remarks about Miranda, and some looks between the two girls. As reported earlier, other lines were cut from the movie.
During the end credits, the Dirty Vegas remix of Die Another Day is played.
As you can see in the ad below, Die Another Day might be up for an Oscar nomination as 'Best Original Song'. The picture used in the ad is from Madonna's Bond cameo.
Yet another accomplished musician has slagged off Die Another Day for being tuneless.
During an interview with BBC's Liquid News last night, Sir Elton John - a self-proclaimed Madonna fan - has criticised her 007 theme tune. It's the second time this week that Madonna has been accused of producing a lacklustre soundtrack.
"It hasn't got a tune James Bond themes are usually very camp and this one's different," he said. John went on to say: "It is the worst Bond tune of all time." Harsh words!
"They should have gone for somebody like Lulu and Shirley Bassey, or maybe I'm in that league," said the be-wigged star. But Elton went to great lengths to say that it wasn't an outright attack on M. "I don't think it's the best Madonna record and I'm a big fan."
The man who wrote the musical score for the latest James Bond flick blasted Madonna yesterday - saying the Material Mom's theme song for the movie is a double-o dud.
Composer David Arnold went as far as to call the techno-laced ballad, "the worst Bond song ever."
"Ideally, I would have liked to have made some musical sense of her song, but I couldn't," Arnold, a Grammy Award winner, told London's Sunday Express.
Die Another Day which debuted Friday, is Arnold's third Bond score, and he assures people won't hear another note from Madonna's song, which shares the film's title, anywhere else in the movie.
"Nobody has criticized me for not working her song into the film score," Arnold said. "She got three minutes, I got 92." Arnold said he wasn't alone in his scorn for Madonna's song.
When Prince Philip heard she was the songstress for the latest Bond installment, he allegedly asked: "Are we going to need ear plugs?"
Some fans who saw the new James Bond movie Die Another Day over the weekend may have wondered if that was really Madonna playing the character Verity. The movie's director, Lee Tamahori, says Madonna was doing the title song and had mentioned she'd like to have a small part in the movie, just for fun.
Tamahori told her "'there's this great little part." At the time he signed Madonna the character was "a little murky," but he envisioned it as a "quasi-Lesbian, dominatrix fencing instructor." He says he thought that would be perfect for her.
And, Tamahori told her he'd give her "a smashing costume." Tamahori enjoyed he cameo. "It's nice when you can just slip someone into the picture and they just appear and people go 'wasn't that Madonna?'" the director said.
Madonna's film history has never been much to write home about, particularly when in collaboration with Guy Ritchie, but the Queen of pop's latest foray into film sees her producing rather than acting.
Previously rumoured to play Dusty Springfield in a biopic of the singer's life, the star has now decided on a more passive role, perhaps due to the slating she received for her performance in the flop Swept Away.
Madge will produce the movie about the legendary sixties icon with husband Guy Ritchie, who will reportedly also direct. Former EastEnder actress Michelle Collins will play the British pop sensation.
The film is said to highlight the singer's secret lesbianism and is sure to cause controversy. A perfect choice, then for Madonna and Guy who are no strangers to film or personal controversy and are still recovering from press reviews of their first collaboration Swept Away.
The dynamic duo will be hoping for an improvement with The Dusty Springfield Story when filming begins next year.
Those who don't intend to watch Die Another Day in the theatres can watch it here.
Madonna's all over Die Another Day's reviews. Nearly every review I have read mentions the theme and cameo.
- Headline: "Oh, James! Your 20th outing shows off a lot of stamina and vitality, and get this, Madonna's cameo doesn't suck!"
- ..."Bond's instructor happens to be Madonna (well-lit, un-self-conscious, and speaking in a natural voice)."
- Hollywood Reporter: "Realizing the franchise is challenged by youth movies like 'XXX,' the Bond producers raise the ante so James stays reasonably hip. Madonna sings the title song and even appears in one of the film's brighter sequences."
- Rolling Stone (Peter Travers): "I did like Madonna's title song, but then she spoils it by 'acting' as a lesbo fencing master. 'Do you fence, Mr. Bond?' she asks. 'I can keep my tip up,' he replies. Happily, some things never change."
Die Another Day stays stable in most charts next week:
US Hot 100: stays at #10
US dance chart: stays at #1 for a second week
UK single chart: stays at #18
Australia single chart: down from #12 to #16
Australia dance chart: stays at #3
James Bond conquered the box office on Friday as MGM's Die Another Day opened at number one with $15.7M in its first day of release, pushing aside last weekend's champ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets which tumbled 62 from last Friday to $10.9M.
Die Another Day should gross $45-50M over the weekend while Potter will place second with about $35-40M.
Contrary to rumor, Madonna did not demand a Die Another Day cameo when she recorded the film's title track. While the pop singer's celluloid ambitions are no secret, Launch has confirmed that she did not strong-arm her way into playing a corset-wearing fencing instructor in the 40-year anniversary Bond installment.
Die Another Day producer Barbara Broccoli set the record straight. "We were looking for somebody to do the song and her name came up and she expressed an interest and we jumped at it. And then she said, 'Oh, it'd be fun to do a cameo.' And we said, 'Well, we had a cameo role there,' we gave it to her, and she liked it. And then she kind of elaborated on it, made it her own, so it all worked out great.
That's exactly how it happened and we're thrilled to bits and we think she did a great job with the song, and particularly love her cameo. It was just a small role and she really made it into something, and I thought she was fantastic. Great to work with."
Justin Timberlake loves older women and has a crush on Madonna. 'Madonna gives off this sex energy that is incredible. I was completely aroused in every way when we met,'
Madonna had been practicing her curtsey before she met the Queen, but she was apparently left chuckling by a comment Her Majesty made. The star, dressed in demure black and dripping with diamonds, met the Queen.
But it was the Queen's apparent lack of an idea of who she was that left the pop diva giggling.
When the Queen was told that Madonna had performed the theme tune for the 20th Bond movie - Die Another Day - she said "Oh really, did you?"
Once the Queen had moved down the line Madonna couldn't contain herself anymore and had to giggle.
DVDfile lists that Swept Away will be released on DVD and VHS in the US on February 11th, 2003.
Guy Ritchie wishes Madonna would wear her kinky Bond clothes on her days off. He told me he loves his wifes leather bondage gear, which she wears for her cameo role in Die Another Day.
In the film the Queen of Pop plays lesbian fencing instructor Verity and wears a stunning black leather basque which laces at the back. Guy told me: "When I saw her in that, I thought 'phwoar'. I wish she'd wear things like that at home."
Material Girl Madge, who also sings the theme tune for the flick, is joined by Pierce Brosnan as 007 in a fencing scene. One of Madonna's scripted jokes never made it into the final film. We don't get to hear a rude comment which she uses about her stunning screen pupil Miranda Frost, played by Rosamund Pike. The scrapped line was: "She doesnt beat around the bush believe me, I've tried."
Director Lee Tamahori said: "It was never shot because we figured it was hurting her character to have too many of those double entendres."
At the premiere, Madonna said: "I think Pierce is one of the sexiest Bonds." She met the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh before the screening. But Madge and Guy then ducked out of the film early and gave the aftershow party a miss. Perhaps she decided to take her work home with her after all and have an early night with Guy.
The world premier of the 20th James Bond film lit up central London on Monday night, with two firsts at such events: Queen Elizabeth II joined the superstars, and the venue was Royal Albert Hall.
Large crowds gathered outside the London landmark to watch the Die Another Day actors show up, including Pierce Brosnan, the suave 007; his new lady, Oscar winner Halle Berry; and Madonna, who sings the movie's theme tune and plays the cameo role of fencing instructor Verity. [...]
Madonna, who arrived with her husband Guy Ritchie, was dressed conservatively in a knee-length black cocktail dress and took the time to make sure she knew how to greet the queen.
Madonna practiced her curtsey in front of co-star John Cleese, and afterward said: "The queen asked me about Bond. I have never met her before, but surprisingly I wasn't nervous."
Royal Albert Hall was transformed into a glittering ice palace for the evening, similar to the lair of the latest Bond villain, Gustav Graves, played by Toby Stephens, the son of veteran actress Dame Maggie Smith.
Tonight the premiere of Die Another Day was helt in London. The entire cast, including Madonna, attended the event, as well as the Queen of England.
BBC reports: "Her Majesty's Secret Service agent James Bond has had a royal appointment with the Queen at the première of his latest spy movie. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh met James Bond star Pierce Brosnan at the charity screening of Die Another Day at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
The venue was transformed into an ice palace for the evening, in homage to the lair of Bond villain Gustav Graves, played by Toby Stephens. Madonna, who has a cameo role, attended with her husband.
Stars from the movie Halle Berry, Judi Dench, John Cleese, Rosamund Pike and Madonna attended the screening. Actors from classic Bond movies also attended, including three former 007s Timothy Dalton, George Lazenby and Roger Moore.
Fans watched the stars and the royal party arrive for the premiere in grandstand seats which are being erected around the red carpet, along with huge screens to capture close-ups of the VIPs. Some of the world's most glamorous cars featured in the Bond films were also on show outside the Albert Hall.
Die Another Day marks the 20th film in the series, and as ever it features spectacular stunts performed around the world. "I think it is a really fine film. I'm very proud of it," said Brosnan. He said the long-lasting appeal of the film was because "from a male perspective we all want to be him. Even I would like to be him."
Producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said they were honoured the film had been chosen as the annual Royal Film Performance. "James Bond is the epitome of all things British," they said in a statement.
Brosnan, has confirmed he has signed up for a fifth Bond movie. "I was asked to come back for a fifth before we started Die Another Day. The answer is yes," he said. The film, which cost $142m, is released on 20 November.".
Australians will see the new James Bond film Die Another Day on December 12, but without a classic 007 franchise line which was to have been delivered by Madonna.
The 44-year-old pop icon appears in an uncredited cameo in the film, wearing a leather outfit which looks more bondage than Bond. She plays, in the words of director Lee Tamahori a "filthy, lesbian, dominatrix fencing instructor".
According to the script, she was to have introduced her protege Miranda Frost, played by British newcomer Rosamund Pike, to Bond (Pierce Brosnan) with the potentially immortal words: "She doesn't beat around the bush believe me, I've tried." Ahem.
In the end, however, Tamahori demurred. "It was never shot, because we figured it was hurting her character to have too many of those double entendres," said the New Zealander. "We cut one of them and two never made it. We never even shot them. We figured it was overloading it too much."
Just how Madonna came to appear in Die Another Day is a moot point. She says MGM "kept begging me and begging me and begging me" to write the title song, which she eventually did.
"When I handed them the song, I started sort of talking to the director a lot and he was showing me a lot of footage of the movie and then he kind of said, 'Oh, it would be really cool if you could do a cameo'," Madonna says. "Somehow they talked me into that, too. They are very persuasive over there at MGM, so I did it."
Tamahori, 51, has been begging, too, to differ. "Her people agents, managers, whatever came and said she'd very much like to play a cameo in the movie. That was the way it was presented to me.
She never came to me and said, 'Look, the studio is bothering me to be in the movie and I don't want to, but they're paying me a lot of money to do it'. "I thought she'd be great to do a cameo in it and then when I met her she had some kind of reluctance. She said, 'I'd be very happy to be in the picture but I don't really care. If you've got nothing for me I am not going to be upset about it'."
Madonna's memoirs may never hit print. The pop queen is still under contract to write her memoirs after signing a deal in 1992 - but she has no plans as yet to sit down and write about her life.
The book was to be released as the second part of two-book £1million publishing deal with Random House UK that Madonna signed 10 years ago.
The first book was Sex published in 1992. Madonna, however, it seems is too busy writing children's books, which she is testing out on her daughter, Lourdes.
This week's chart positions for Die Another Day:
Canada: #1!! (her 17th Canadian #1!!)
And the single now tops the Hot Dance/Club Play chart in the US, which means it's Madonna's 28th no. 1 dance hit! Congratulations!!
A former Olympic fencer who got a bit part in Die Another Day has revealed what life was like with Madonna on the set of the Bond film. Richard Cohen says Madonna put off her one scene time and time again adding thousands to the budget:
"Throughout filming, there has been one constant topic: will Madonna show up? She is said to have put off her one scene time and time again, adding thousands to the budget, and gossip on the set is that fee will be half a million pounds for just one day's shooting. In the end she is slated to appear on the last day of filming - well into July and the movie has to be released in November.
She is 44 now, a mother of young children: how will she look? The whole set is to be 'closed' for her; no visitors and definitely no Press, and her dressing rooms shut off from the cast. On the day she is due to make her long-awaited appearance, the rest of us turn up, as usual, at 7am......At 8am I am....aware of an eeerie silence on set: Madonna has arrived.
She wanders nochalantly across the fencing room in a black Versace outfit which includes a figure hugging corset which she will later ask Bind to do up for her. Her black leotard is so skin tight it looks like cling-film.
Her arms, muscular as a gymnast's, are bare, and as she saunters across stage she casually licks a red lolly. She hasn't said a word yet, but she has no need to. It is an unusual experience; the magnetic pull of stardom. None of us can help ourselves, everyone is looking at her.
A few minutes pass, then Brosnan appears and the two stars eye each other, like boxers weighing up who has the heavier punch. Madonna is playing the part of Verity, the club's head coach. Originally, she was to be one of Bond's ex-girlfriends but she objected to being his cast-off and on-set gossip has it that she re-wrote her lines and his, remodelling herself as a lesbian, beyond Bond's reach.
She brightly refers to 'my innuendo scene' and it is soon clear why. Bond strides in and asks her if can have a lesson from her. Madonna has her back to him, but turns to answer. Bond points his epee at her and when she raises her own sword to parry, he evades it.
'I see you know how to handle your weapon well,' Madonna says appreciatively. 'I have been known to raise my tip from time to time', Brosnan replies. Carry on 007.
Madonna, though physically adept, has trouble with the moves and the scene requires several takes. As the two stars wait for the camera to be set up again they talk together easily. Later Brosnan confesses that on their first meeting backstage he had started to hum her early hit, Like A Virgin, at which she turned on him and said accusingly: 'Don't diss me!' But that seems forgotten now. Then Madonna turns to fencing. 'Have you had a go at this yet?' she asks. 'It's great. Gives you a womderful workout.' Brosnan looks unconvinced.
'Right. Next take' an assistant director breaks in. This time it's the corset scene. 'I seem to have come....undone' says Madonna, playing the line for all it's worth before collapsing into a fit of giggles. Later, she urges Bond to take on Graves in a fencing bout. 'I think you will provide stiffer opposition.' More giggles. By now she is handling her epee with real deftness.
When the director finally says he is satisfied she walks past me and I say inanely: 'You could become a good fencer, you know'. She gives me the briefest of glances: 'Gee. Wow!' It is 5pm and, breaks apart, she has been on set for eight hours. Now it's a wrap. Her fight scene is over.
Can we finally draw a line under Madonna's movie career? After the humiliating withdrawl of Swept Away from British screens last week, you'd imagine she might finally beat her retreat from an arena in which she's tasted nothing but failure and embarassment.
The unprecedently hostile reception accorded to Swept Away in America - where it earned a derisory $500,000 on a $25million outlawy - must have been particularly galling, especially since her director was 'him indoors'.
Frankly, the unanimous critical pasting was a little extreme: she wasn't less or more awful than she usually is, and her suntan in the movie was eerily, almost mechanically awesome. Even so, the audiences who didn't stay away found her patently unable to justify their love. I suspect the Material Girl herself personally cancelled the UK release, thus sparing herself a second media drubbing in the country she now calls home. Can you blame her? Life's too short.
Nonetheless, it is remarkable how long she has persisted in the delusion that she might make a good movie star material. You can tell the company she wishes she could keep by the names she checked in Vogue: Garbo, Grace Kelly; Marilyn; Jean Harlow; Lana Turner, Lauren Bacall and Rita Hayworth.
Trouble is, movie stars are born more often than they are made, and that seductive camera magic isn't fairly aportioned at birth. You've got it or you haven't.
The mistake Madonna makes is in thinking that a charisma that depends on large stage gestures and provactive, broad brush MTV visuals can translate into a harsher realm of merciless close-ups, long takes, repeated line reading and a consistent maintenance of emotional tone.
What Madonna has, in musical terms, is also rare and considering her talents have helped transform the lives of girls and women since the mid-1980s, you'd think that she might be happy with that.
Ah, but here comes Bond number 20, Die Another Day, for which she has done quite a nifty title song - the kind of thing she really does excel at - plus a peek a boo cameo in the movie itself as the mistress of a fencing club. If she maintains that ratio of decent music and miniscule appearances, we can all be grateful.
It looks like all the hoo-ha over Ulrika Jonnson's autobiography will do nothing to stem the flow of celebrity memoirs no lesser person than Madonna is writing a book, to be called Madonna Speaks.
It'll be in the shops by 2004. 'No-one knows much about it, but it has got a release date of 2004 and it is certainly an autobiography,' said a spokesman for Secker and Warburg, who are to publish the tome.
Apparently, the Material Mom signed a two-book deal in the early 90s, the first being the controversial bondage coffee table book Sex, and the second of which was her life story. The second never appeared, though, and seems to have been forgotten about until now. Get ready for some serious score-settling.
Posh is a cow and so is Camilla, Madonna and Kylie, according to a new survey that shows farmers are naming their cattle after celebrities.
The National Farmers' Union study, which interviewed 200 farmers in England and Wales, finds that rather than using traditional names farmers are naming their herd after stars of pop, film, sports and royalty.
Beckham has replaced Buttercup, Denzel has trampled on Daisy and Madonna is more likely to moo than Marigold.
James Bond can be shaken and stirred. He just can't swivel his hips too much. Yes, the MPAA made director Lee Tamahori trim a hot love scene between James Bond and his new ladylove Jinx, played by Halle Berry, in the upcoming Die Another Day.
"In America, you're not allowed to thrust, moan or look like you're enjoying yourself while having sex or you get an R rating," fumes Tamahori, who snipped some of the sizzle to get a PG-13. "It's such b-------! Basically, I had to take out everything that made it look like the woman was enjoying herself."
Specifically, he trimmed about 10 seconds of Berry bonding with Bond. "So you Americans can fly to Europe, where the film will be presented in its entirety," Tamahori says. "Basically, I can drill a man through the head with a laser, but I can't show someone enjoying sex. Now, what kind of message is that to kids?"
For her part, Berry says, "I spent a lot of time naked with Pierce for that love scene. It was fun, but I guess it went a little far. But for heaven's sake, he's James Bond, and the love scenes should be hot." She brightens and says, "At least it does give everyone something to look forward to when the DVD comes out!"
Something else that was cut was Madonna as a lesbian fencing instructor getting a little bit hot with the other Bond babe, played by Rosamund Pike. But Tamahori snipped those scenes himself. "I shot some moments with Madonna giving Rosamund little touches, but I didn't want to turn the film into a male fantasy thing," he says. "Madonna still has all these little looks with Rosamund, which was enough."
Die Another Day director Lee Tamahori has said Madonna's not the pushy star she's made out to be. Rumours are that she refused to record the title track without a role in Die Another Day, but Lee insists that's nonsense.
He says after a meeting with Madonna he was happy to offer her a two-minute cameo: "She said - 'Look, whatever people tell you - I'd love to be in the picture but if you've got nothing for me and you don't want me in the picture then no hard feelings. I'm very happy to do the title track.' I said - 'Look, there's this quasi-lesbian dominatrix fencing instructor that was doing one thing or the other...It'll be perfect for you. If you want to play it I'll give you a great costume, and believe me, it'll be a smashing costume.'
"So she said yes - and that was great." Meanwhile, Halle Berry's character in Die Another Day - Jinx - has proved so popular that Bond bosses are planning to develop her own spin-off series. It's the first time it's happened in 007's 40 year history.
In an interview with Launch, Sugar Ray's frontman Mark McGrath mentions Madonna as trendsetter of changing musical styles: "McGrath also tells Launch to not necessarily expect the same Sugar Ray of previous hits such as "Every Morning" and "Someday."
"It's funny, you wait your whole life to get a sound and now the sound's like 'Wow, we've got to do something else,'" he says.
"I think Madonna set the bar pretty high for changing yourself, staying current. And we're sort of in that position now. We're gonna pull the trigger and do something different this time."
Die Another Day features another Bond Girl whose name should ring a bell. Madonna, who also sings the film's techno-tinged theme song, dons bondage-black fencing gear and troweled-on eye liner to make a brief appearance as a kinky fencing mistress named Verity.
Madge feints on the swordplay, but obviously relishes the chance to indulge in some of the franchise's famous double-entendres. After handing a fencing sword to 007 Pierce Brosnan, she smirks, "I see you handle your weapon well." And when asked if she'd like to place a bet on the outcome of a duel between Bond and his male adversary, she quips, "No thanks. I don't like cockfights."
Fansite Madonnarama claims: "We've heard confirmed details of 2 of the songs which have working titles of 'Hollywood' and 'American Life' (these refrains are repeated in the lyrics).
Facing down about 600 university students inside England's Oxford Union debating chamber, movie director Guy Ritchie proved to be a popular guest on Tuesday night, People's London Bureau reports.
As might have been expected, a good many questions concerned his wife, Madonna, 44, and their movie Swept Away, which recently washed ashore in America and tanked so badly that it's going straight to video in Ritchie's native Britain.
"It's not being released (over here) because it's sh--," Ritchie, 34, told the students. "I can't answer more eloquently than that." He said, "The idea was that the wife and I would make some sassy little art movie, but we got the sh-- kicked out of us. It broke records in America. It must be the first film to make front page news with a review."
By Ritchie's reckoning, "I think 21 papers in America ran on how appalling it was, and we had the absolute feces kicked out of us. But I've got to say, it's a good film. I'm still left shaking my head ... make (up) your own minds about it." Once the floor was opened to other questions, Ritchie, sometimes going for a laugh (which he received), answered quite candidly.
Among the queries:
- What do you call your wife at home? "Bitch."
- Does your wife's history bother you at all? "It doesn't. It used to, but it doesn't anymore."
- Does your wife sing in the shower? "Yes."
- Do you like your wife's music? "Was I a Madonna fan? No. Am I a Madonna fan? Yes. I mean that genuinely."
- How did you and Madonna first meet? "It's actually quite a boring answer. We met at lunch. She was with her boyfriend, and he was sulking, and they were a few seats down in the restaurant from where I was sitting, and I thought, 'F---ing hell, it's Madonna'. So I went up to her and made crap jokes. I think I said, 'If you play your cards right, I'll put you in a movie'. She thought I was cocky and things went from there.
- What's Madonna's favorite film? "She likes musicals. 'The Sound of Music.' "
And, describing their home life, Ritchie said: "My wife has a mind of her own. I like to think I have some way of influencing her, but that could be an illusion."
He adds: "The album version of Die Another Day is exact the same one of the promos, NOT LONGER :(.
The making of is 4 minutes long and you can see escenes you haven't seen on the MTV's, but don't expect too much of the enhanced CD. No Madonna extras as unreleased remixes!!"
eBay has put up a signed Madonna picture which was donated for charity: "Win a framed, signed, 8x10 black and white photo of Madonna. The photo, a promotional shot from her Music CD, is signed by Madonna in black marker. Authenticity is 100% guaranteed. The winner of this auction will certainly 'Cherish' this item, so bid for you or for a friend (what a perfect surprise holiday gift).
The photo was kindly donated to RAINN by Madonna. Framing was donated by Chesapeake Framing Company in Kensington, MD. For more information on Chesapeakes services, please call 301-530-9378.
100% of the proceeds from this auction will benefit the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network and the National Sexual Assault Hotline. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nations largest anti-sexual assault organization.
RAINN operates programs to prevent sexual assault, provide help to its victims and promote the prosecution and punishment of its perpetrators.
RAINN also operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE and carries out extensive education and outreach programs.
RAINN receives no government funding. Eighty-seven cents of every dollar raised is spent directly on program services for victims. After researching the nation's 819,000 charities, Worth magazine selected RAINN as one of "America's 100 Best Charities."
To find out more about RAINN, please call 1-800-656-HOPE ext. 3 or visit our website at www.rainn.org. "
A clever marketing gimmick for MGM's James Bond juggernaut is providing a high-profile demo for a new technology that could create markets for promotional and one-time-rental DVDs.
MGM used Flexplay Technologies' special DVDs for 5,000 promo discs mailed out this week with about 25 minutes of material from Die Another Day.
The Bond mailer warns, "Once removed from its packaging, the DVD will self-destruct in 36 hours!" The line might have been better used by Paramount for marketing 'Mission: Impossible', but nonetheless, the technology allowed MGM to send the music video of Madonna's theme song along with numerous featurettes about the film's cars, crew, gadgets and more, without undercutting their long-term value for inclusion in the movie's inevitably huge DVD release six months from now.
Veteran singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, disgusted with the music business, has said her latest album will also be her last. Venting her scorn on contemporary artists - including Madonna - Mitchell said of music industry executives;
"They're not looking for talent. They're looking for a look and a willingness to cooperate. And a woman my age, no matter how well preserved, no longer has the look. And I've never had a willingness to cooperate."
As for Madonna, who was once quoted as saying that as a teenager she had adored Mitchell: "She has knocked the importance of talent out of the arena. She's manufactured. She's made a lot of money and become the biggest star in the world by hiring the right people," Mitchell said.
~ Madonna's spokesperson Liz Rosenberg was astonished when she heard this, saying the feeling certainly wasn't mutual, as Madonna has said in the past that Mitchell was one of her inspirations.
The Madonna mailing list gives us following update. It lists the peak positions; in the UK for example it already dropped to no. 12. The US no. 1 is from the sales chart; Die Another Day is still no. 8 in the Billboard Hot 100.
#01 Hong Kong
#03 United Kingdom
#05 The Netherlands
~ I can add that the single is no. 1 on all radio stations of my second home country Lebanon. Another fan reported also that the song is no. 1 in Israel! (thanx Avi!)
Why don't record companies release CD singles like they did a few years ago? I do not understand why Warner Bros. would not release a single for Madonna's Die Another Day.
I know they only released the maxi-single to this song, but this forces consumers to pay $9 for a maxi-single instead of the typical $2.99 we used to pay just for the song. Additionally, a lot of retailers (Best Buy, Circuit City, etc.) will not carry this maxi-single.
Doesn't this limit the possibility of Madonna having another No. 1? How does Billboard calculate sales and airplay into the Hot 100?
Last week Die Another Day only sold around 29,000 copies of its maxi-single, easily dethroning Kelly Clarkson's song, but very much short of what a No. 1 single would typically sell even a year ago. The Madonna song only climbed to No. 8 [on the Billboard Hot 100].
Has the format for this calculation changed to determine a No. 1 song, or are record companies becoming selfish and relying on the public to purchase the full CD or soundtrack?
Record companies aren't releasing singles because they think if you buy the single, you won't buy the album. And they want you to buy the album, because that's where they make their money.
The limited maxi-single release of Madonna's Die Another Day was good enough to allow the title to achieve pole position on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Sales chart, but as you point out, the numbers weren't high enough to catapult the Bond theme to No. 1 on the Hot 100. The maxi-single needed to sell around 60,000 copies to be a serious contender for the top spot.
The Hot 100 has always been compiled by adding sales and airplay information -- that's been true since its inception in August 1958. To keep up with changing market conditions, the formula for adding sales and airplay has changed over the years.
In today's climate, where few singles are releases and the ones that do sell in small quantities, airplay is a much bigger factor in where a song will land on the Hot 100.
In addition to being the best selling maxi-single for the third week in a row, Die Another Day makes a strong move from 7 to 2 on next week's Dance/Club Play chart in Billboard magazine.
The song's trajectory to date: 33 - 20 - 7 - 2... and it's looking like a surefire bet to become Madonna's 28th number one.
"The credit sequence has Bond going through a terrible ordeal viewed through the dancing bodies of women made of fire and ice, with the radio edit of Madonna's Die Another Day played over it."
"Plus a scene in the Ice Palace during the party, where a remix of Madonna's DAD plays in the background..."
"Madonna has what I consider a larger cameo than expected. This is in the first half of the film. Is it implied that she and Bond have some sort of past? I'll have to see the film again to be sure..."
Madonna forced record label bosses to re-edit Badly Drawn Boy's latest video after it had been sent to TV stations when she discovered she was in it. The queen of pop was furious that bosses at record company XL did not ask her permission to feature a picture of her in the video to You Were Right.
On the single, Badly Drawn Boy aka Damon Gough sings, "I had to turn her down 'cos I was still in love with you/I turned Madonna down."
Madonna is then pictured in the promo with four arms, like a Hindu God. An insider says, "Nobody wants to get on the wrong side of Madonna. We had to beg all the TV companies to not show the video while we cut her out."
In the new edit Madge is replaced by a renaissance painting.
Pop diva Madonna claims 007 actor Pierce Brosnan ogled her on the set of the new James Bond film, when she walked in dressed head to toe in leather.
Speaking of her leather fencing outfit created by Brit firm Whitaker Malem for Die Another Day, Madonna says: "I don't think he knew where to look when I first walked on set."
Madonna plays a lesbian fencing instructor in the film. It is only a cameo appearance, but is likely to get a better reception than her film Swept Away, which is now going straight to video in the UK.
According to the Warner Bros. mailing list, we can expect a new single in January, and the new album in February. This is what Madonna fan 'The Archdandy' had to say about the album:
- The first single will NOT be a Mirwais track, and that the title of the album will be decided next month.
- The new album will mesh a lot of sounds. That's what the ArchDandy is hearing. However, it's not like a bunch of styles thrown together on one disc like Music was - lots of elements are mixed in single songs themselves (Die Another Day's strings and techno-beat being the perfect lead-off example). There will also be a lot more guitar on the album--some of it particularly heavy.
- Also, it is being rumored that, in addition to Die Another Day, there will be 11 NEW tracks instead of just ten (making the total 12).
But alas, that is still just a rumor at this early stage... Madonna hasn't even finished choosing the tracks (which explains why there's no title yet).
Irish boy band Westlife shot to the top of the British charts on Sunday, claiming its 11th number one single in four years. 'Unbreakable' knocked 'Heaven' by DJ Sammy from the top spot, according to the Official UK Charts Company.
The track is from Westlife's greatest hits album of the same name, due for release on Monday. Madonna, who made a disappointing chart debut last week at No. 3, slipped out of this week's top ten.
Her James Bond theme Die Another Day fell nine places to 12.
#01 Italy (New Entry!)
#03 United Kingdom
#05 The Netherlands
In the 11/06/1982 issue of Billboard, a song called Everybody by an unknown singer carrying a well-known name first appeared at #40 on the Dance/Disco Top 80 chart (predecessor of the 50-position Dance/Club Play chart). It peaked at #3 for three weeks in January 1983.
Who would have thought that 20 years later, that same disco chick from Michigan would be on a mission to add a modern twist to the James Bond franchise.
By the 11/02/2002 issue, her theme song for Die Another Day (the *20th* Bond film, coincidentally) has turned out to be her 48th Hot 100 entry, 44th top 40 hit (record among female artists and tied for 5th among all artists), and is on its way to become her 35th top 10 hit (second only to Elvis Presley).
She has accumulated 12 #1 hits (second among female solo artists and tied for 5th among all), and 24 gold singles (tied with the Beatles, second only to Elvis). She has been churning out hits after hits with astounding consistency, and save for a selected few, her chart clout has outlasted all her '80s peers and even most big names from early '90s.
On the dance chart where it all started, she has achieved an unthinkable level of domination. Among her 40 Club Play hits prior to Die Another Day (#33 debut in the 11/02/2002 issue), only three peaked below #6 (one of which was the import-only, unpromoted Sky Fits Heaven). Think about that!!
27 of them reached the pinnacle, almost twice as many as Janet Jackson, who plays bridesmaid with 14 #1s.
On the album front, she has logged 16 entries on the Billboard 200 (including Who's That Girl and Evita soundtracks). Excluding the 1-CD highlight version of Evita, all the other 15 went platinum, including 12 multi-platinum. 14 charted in the top 10, including four #1s and five #2s.
Among female artists, her certified sales (59 platinum for 56.5 million copies) is second only to Barbra Streisand. So much more can be said about Madonna's achievements, on the charts and beyond.
The movie Swept Away has been swept aside in a nation that likes to think of its star, Madonna, as one of its own. The singer's latest film, directed by her British husband, Guy Ritchie, won't screen at theaters in Britain because it flopped so badly across the Atlantic, its distributor said Friday.
"Following the disappointing box office results in the U.S., Guy Ritchie's Swept Away will not be released theatrically in the U.K.," Columbia Tristar said in a statement.
The film, a remake of a 1974 Italian movie of the same name, had been scheduled to open in theaters in March, but instead will go straight to video, the company said. The movie bombed on its release in America last month, taking in $375,000 at 196 theaters on its first weekend, an average of $1,913 per theater.
By contrast, 'Red Dragon', the third in the "Silence of the Lambs" series, raked in $17.6 million the same weekend. Critics have savaged Swept Away, in which Madonna plays a spoiled socialite who goes on a Mediterranean cruise and becomes stranded on a deserted island with a sailor she'd tormented on board. He beats her into submission and they fall in love, only to have reality rip them apart once they're rescued.
The Associated Press called it a "cinematic shipwreck" and said it "completely lacks the imagination and spark of (Ritchie's) two previous films." Madonna, the AP review said, turns in "her most wooden, self-conscious performance since Shanghai Surprise."
Not that bad reviews in the past have dented Madonna's box office pull in Britain: In May, she made her West End debut in an Australian play, "Up For Grabs," that was roundly trounced by critics and sold out every performance.
The interview is mostly normal chit chat stuff, but when asked about whether she will tour for the new album, she said "most likely".
Also, the Rick Dees interview can be downloaded at rick.com.
Last week, Madonna gave a phone interview to US radio station KIIS FM, giving the following details:
- The new album will have Die Another Day on it.
- There is no title for the album yet.
- There will be about 10 songs on the album.
- She is looking to create a "stiff" sound for the new album (according to her "stiff" is the new hard).
- She says she is doing a rap on the album "inspired by Eminem who is very talented".
- Madonna spoke briefly with her former dancer Chris Finch, and called him an old man (he was 13 when he worked on the WTG tour).
- Madonna freaked out about the Good Morning America incident involving the breast feeding incident.
Here is the first picture of Madonna in her cameo role in Die Another Day scanned from People magazine.
In addition to jumping 18*-8* on the Billboard 100, as already reported, "Die" makes the following movement on other charts:
Hot 100 Airplay: 19*-18*
Hot 100 Sales: 47*-1*
Adult Top 40: 32*-29*
Top 40 Tracks: 12*-9*
Dance/Maxi-Singles Sales: 5*-1*
Dance/Club Play: 33*-20*
Pop queen Madonna's latest single has been beaten to the top of the charts by a Europop anthem called Heaven. Her 54th UK single release - the title theme from new James Bond film Die Another Day - entered the singles chart at number three.
It had been tipped as a sure chart-topper but DJ Sammy and Yanou raced it to the top spot. Meanwhile, Nelly and Kelly Rowland dropped to number two with Dilemma and Craig David trailed in at number eight with his first material for two years, What's your Flava?
Madonna.com posted a second part of fan questions answered by Caresse Henry.
Jenny asks: Please could you tell me if there is a new Madonna album or tour Scheduled for 02/03? im having Madonna withdrawals!!
Caresse: Yes - there is a new album scheduled for the early part of 2003 and I doubt there will be a large scale tour but definitely some performances to celebrate that release along with Madonna's 20 year anniversary!
Witgert Alexandre asks: I've read on different fan-pages that there's a "remix-album" in work. Is there any chance that there's something true on this rumour?
Caresse: No, not that I am aware of - we do have the Bond - Die Another Day remixes which are nothing short of kick ass and there is something for everyone - maybe that's where the confusion started.
Antonio Carrasco Liadskikh asks: Hi, I love Madonna and I want to know if maverick or warner, will release a DVD Collection in the beginning of 2003 which will include all the unreleased videos and remixes?
Caresse: I would like to focus on preparing an ultimate box set of Madonna music - single and remixes, videos, and tours - so stay tuned for that to be sometime late next year.
Tamara Schweber asks: What does it say in Hebrew on Madonna's arm in the new video?
Caresse: To overcome your ego.
Joshua Wasile asks: I am trying to find any info on the Madonna 2003 calendar, and if there will be one next year? Please let me know on how I can get one. Thank you.
Caresse: Unfortunately, we missed the time frame to do that for 2003 so I promise that for 2004 - we will have one to make up for it!
Fansite Madonnarama claims that Madonna's new, as-yet-untitled studio album is now complete. It's been said that it's her best work yet.
Sources say this album is a very unexpected move for Mirwais; there is apparently a lot of guitar on it. Here's a reminder of what we already know:
- There will be 10 tracks
- One of the songs features Madonna rapping (and not in a Vogue style).
- Die Another Day will be featured.
- The album is released early next year.
- There is possibly a song called 'Can't You See My Mind'.
- Mirwais has produced at least six of the tracks (according to his fanclub)
- Madonna describes it as having a "stiff" sound, with highly compressed-sounding drums (audio compression flattens out all the levels, making the loud and quiet parts at a similar level. Disco and house music is very compressed).
Making a rare advertising appearance, pop star Madonna will be featured in a new campaign for the women's channel Oxygen starting next week. The new campaign, called "Oh! Oxygen!" was created by Dale Pon Advertising, New York. Included in this effort is a new Oxygen logo.
Other celebrities promoting the network will include Carrie Fisher, Candice Bergen, Alan Cumming, Ana Gasteyer, Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Isaac Mizrahi. The spots will focus on original programming such as Oprah after the Show and The Isaac Mizrahi Show.
The ad campaign will run for four weeks on Oxygen and on national cable networks, local cable systems and on more than 60 major broadcast TV stations. The 4-year-old Oxygen Media has 44 million cable subscribers.