Madonna sings of life as 'Evita'
December 17, 1996
Web posted at: 8:15 a.m. EST
From Correspondent Jim Moret
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- It's being billed as the most anticipated film of the year. And Madonna is playing the character she said only she could play -- the title role in "Evita."
The superstar popster and occasional actress says she was the right person for the role of Eva Peron "because I understand her. ... I relate to her on a lot of different levels."
The road leading to Madonna's epic role as former Argentine co-leader Eva "Evita" Peron was full of potholes. Hollywood successes such as "Desperately Seeking Susan" and "Dick Tracy" have been outnumbered by misfires like "Shanghai Surprise" and "Who's That Girl."
But Madonna's unabashed desire for the part of Evita -- and her vocal talent -- landed her the headline role in the silver-screen adaptation of the hit Broadway musical. She hopes this role will win her respect as an actress.
Asked by CNN if she possessed Peron's seductive powers and popularity, Madonna said only that they both were "driven by a lot of the same things" and felt it was important "to help people stand up for their rights." (558K/25 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
The pop diva and brand-new mother said her understanding of her character and their similarities expanded as filming progressed and as she picked up historical detail about the real Eva Peron.
Music videos, the foundation of Madonna's pop career, were solid training for the almost constant lip-synching required by "Evita," a long-form musical drama with little spoken dialogue.
Madonna wanted to be true to her movie character, who died in 1952, not to the image she has built up over the last 10 years. (364K/16 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
Halfway through the filming of "Evita," however, the singer's image was changed forever when she discovered she was pregnant with the child of her boyfriend, Carlos Leon.
She described the news as "frightening and exciting, all at the same time." But it was also "the best thing that ever happened to me," Madonna said.
"I just know that I will never look at life the same way," she said. "And I know that I will not make another decision without thinking of (my daughter, Lourdes) first."
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