Live To Tell-All

8.27.2008

By Noah Michelson

Let's talk about Madonna and the gays. You've said that she's purposely distanced herself in recent years and you attribute that -- at least partially -- to Guy Ritchie.
Look -- she was at a certain age, she'd had a child already, I know she wanted to start a family and she fell in love with a guy who doesn't particularly like homosexuals. You can't explain why you fall in love with people, but I know that in her need to make him feel equal to herself, the gays had to go. I don't know what his past has been like and I don't know what's happened in his world, so I can't tell him you why he's the way he is but it's definitely there. If you've been gay for any great length of time you can tell. I knew immediately -- he didn't have to do anything. I could just feel it. It was the way he looked at me -- he's always been kind of a sour puss. Not the most fun guy to be around. And you can see it in the photographs -- he always has a scowl on his face. But the gays haven't left her and there's no reason why they should. I don't think she deserves to be shunned by homosexuals.

It's strange to me though because the gays are the ones that are always ready to rally whenever she releases something new. And yet she isn't bending over backwards to court us anymore.
Believe me, I called her on it a while ago. This was before we weren't speaking. It was the Gay Games in Chicago and they asked me to be involved in some way and they asked me to extend the invitation to her and I agreed to email her and see if she'll do a short filmed message for the event. And she just wasn't interested. And I thought, This is nothing. You haven't done anything in years -- I mean, look, she did plenty when AIDS was at its peak, she did her part. But the gays made her. They kept her where she is and I think you have a responsibility -- I don't care what anybody says -- to maintain that respect.

It seems like good business as well.
I don't think it's affected her business with the gays. But I wrote her back and said, 'I don't get it -- now you only are interested in gay people when you need them. They just want a filmed message from you.' And she responded, 'I've done plenty. I've done enough.' It's hard to explain some things. I don't know where it's coming from. But she has her own family now and I imagine that's part of it. There are some things she's dealing with that are out of her control right now: her children, her relationship with her husband, she's turning 50, there's this book. There are some things she just can't control. I imagine Lola is on the verge of rebellion -- she's got to be. I'm not sure what form it'll take but that'll be interesting to watch.

That seems like one of your biggest regrets -- that you don't get to see the kids.
That's part of it. But even before any of this there was always a line of people in front of me: the nannies, the nurses, the bodyguards. It was very hard to get close to Lola anyway, and she was much younger then. I can't imagine what she must think of her uncle. I'm sure she's not happy with me. But when she's ready to rebel she has a place to go.

She can come crash with you. Are you or were you ever a fan of Madonna's music?
I don't listen to that kind of music. I listen to R&B and country. I really don't listen to pop. Every once in a while -- like [Britney Spears'] 'Toxic.' I like the dance remixes of 'Like a Prayer,' and I think Erotica was her best record. It's the most overlooked because of all the stuff swirling around it. The latest record [Hard Candy] is crap as far as I'm concerned. It's surprising -- no, not surprising -- it's disappointing for a number of reasons. She didn't have to go into Timbaland and [Justin] Timberlake's world. She's doing their music. She should have dragged them into her world and made them do her music. To me it's out of place and stepping backwards. And she doesn't need the cash, so she should go and experiment. Find the edge again. Why not? Or else -- why bother? It could be partly because it was her last record for Warner Bros. she just got it out of the way. But it's still part of her package and people respond to it. I haven't followed the charts, but I haven't talked to too many people who've actually liked the record. I wish she'd push the envelope and not in a sexual way -- we've clearly been there -- or a religious way. But in a musical way. She has the wherewithal to do it.

You just shot a pilot for your own reality show.
It's a design-based show called Pardon My D'cor. And it's all the stuff you don't see on reality shows. You still get the set-up and the reveal of a typical design show. It's Middle America and somebody needs a room redone and they don't have any money. The family in the pilot basically had no furniture. The producers went and bought furniture to make the place look ugly so that I could come in and make it pretty. We're showing all that stuff and the people behind the scenes. I'm actually talking to the cameraman and if dust is falling in my face, we keep the shot and if you make a mistake -- well it just so happens that all of that stuff happened that day. My assistant sliced her leg open -- it looked like someone had gutted a fish -- and we kept all that. It's not polished. It's very raw. But I refused to do another straight forward design show. There's just too many of them. What's the point? So I agreed to this is as long as I could keep six bottles of champagne on hand and just keep a little buzz for the entire period.

So you're interested in staying in the spotlight one way or another.
I'm interested in doing things I haven't done. This is something I haven't done. The book is something that I haven't done before. I'd like to make a movie, I'd like to do something on Broadway --

What about Dancing With the Stars?
There's been talk about that. Maybe. I don't know if I have that in me. That'd be a lot of work.

But you trained for years as a professional dancer!
[Laughs] Do you know how long it's been? I'd have to lose 20 pounds to wear the funky clothes they'd make me wear. It's something I'd consider. There are certain shows I do like even though they're polished. I love Project Runway. It's one of my favorite shows on TV. It's people actually making something and being really creative. They're forced to produce something and you can see it instead of people just being stupid on television.

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