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Oh carry me, Eddie, I might stub my toe on an emerald..
Oh carry me, Eddie, I might stub my toe on an emerald.. REVEALED HOW STAR LOST WALLIS SIMPSON'S GEMSTONES IN SURF OF ST TROPEZ Actress drops jewels in sea on set of new movie.
Publication: Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date: Jan 15, 2012
By: JOHN MILLAR
ANDREA Riseborough hits a glittering jackpot in new film W.E. with a spot-on portrayal of Wallis Simpson, the woman who cost a king his crown.
The movie retells the sensational story of how, in 1936, Edward VIII abdicated the throne in order to marry the American divorcee.
After hours of studying archive footage and reading everything about one of the most famous women of the 20th century, the 30-year-old actress is uncannily transformed in the film.
But even though Andrea - who played Maggie Thatcher in TV's The Long Walk To Finchley - gives such a convincing big-screen performance, she admits she had some tricky moments.
Those problems weren't with Simpson's accent, the role she played in changing the course of British history or with working alongside pop superstar Madonna, who makes her debut as movie director in W.E.
Andrea's hassles were with the expensive gems for which Simpson was famous.
Jewellery giants Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels created beautiful copies of some of her best-known pieces, including a bracelet of crosses embellished with precious stones.
But these gems were at the centre of some unscripted drama when Andrea and James D'Arcy - who plays the King - filmed a sequence when Simpson and Edward frolicked in the surf at Cannes.
After doing the scene five times, the actors were about to return to the sea when Andrea realised one of the emerald crosses must have slipped off in the water.
She said: "One day, someone might find it and think it is the real thing because it was made by the same people at Cartier and has the inscription on the back.
"They may think they have struck gold and try to auction it. It will be very valuable but the real thing will be one of the most expensive pieces of jewellery on the planet because of its sentiment."
There were more problems with the sparklers when Andrea filmed a sequence in which she had to do a frenetic flapper dance.
During this madcap scene, she moved so wildly that her jewellery went soaring through the air. She said: "A necklace worth an awful lot of money flew off my neck and the woman from Cartier - who was there - caught it like a goalkeeper.
"It was like the 1966 World Cup but the necklace was fine."
Newcastle-born Andrea listened carefully to footage of Simpson to help her capture the accent.
She said: "The thing I'm interested in with people's voices is the specificity. Doing an American accent wouldn't have served Wallis in any way.
"Yes, her accent is American but it is also from Baltimore in part, Shanghai, Peking, Florida and all of the places in her life that she'd been."
One of the most demanding scenes happens early in W.E. - Simpson is having a bath when she is violently assaulted by her drunken first husband, Earl Winfield Spencer Jr.
He pulls her from the water then punches and kicks her, leaving her weeping on the floor.
Madonna helped Andrea through every moment of the traumatic scene.
Andrea said: "Emotionally, it was a horrendous thing to go through. The water in the bath had to be cold and we were doing it for six hours."
The actress is full of praise for the homework done by Madonna in the years leading up THE theft Duchess of in 1946 while she were at Ednam provoked a flurry of to filming. Andrea said: "There was no leaf unturned, it was incredible. She was so passionate about it and so fuelled with this story and uncovering what she believed to be the truth."
During all the research Andrea did, she found the private letters between Simpson and Edward to be the most illuminating.
She added: "There were books of these letters that Madonna used when she was writing the script and they were just fascinating.
"They go all the way up to and past the abdication so you get a true insight.
"They had a really interesting language, like a code they used."
James proves he has bags of musical talent JAMES D'Arcy accepted Madonna's challenge to do a bagpipes crash course - only to be slightly deflated when the pop diva cut his regal highlander scene from her movie.
Madonna planned to shoot a sequence when the kilted prince did a spot of piping at Balmoral.
So she told her 36-year-old leading man - who starred with Russell Crowe in Master And Commander - he had six weeks to get to grips with the complex business of the bagpipes.
James searched out top piper John-Angus Smith but he told him it would take a lot longer than a few weeks before he would be able to get more than a squeak out of the pipes.
James said: "You start with the chanter and play that for six months, then you do the bags for a few months. You put them together and, after a year, you might get a bit out of it."
The actor was told the best he could hope for was to be trained so he would look as if he could play the pipes.
So James emailed Madonna saying he could just fake it for the bagpipe sequence. But that idea was not nearly good enough for the debut film director.
James said: "She wrote back and said I should try to learn to play the bagpipes anyway.
"So I thought, 'Let's see what I can do - this gauntlet has been thrown down."
From then on, James and his piping mentor worked together - and their efforts paid off.
The star said: "We did it and I played three minutes of bagpipes. It was amazing.
"It summed up how it was working with Madonna. There was no space for the word no. It was always a case of challenging yourself to do more than you think is possible - and that is quite exciting."
His remarkable musical achievement helped to ease the disappointment of discovering his bagpipe scene was not in the film.
James added: "I could see that the scene was able to be cut out. It is set in the 1920s and doesn't really fit in with the rest of the story.
"The self-esteem I got from doing something like that still exists. It doesn't matter whether it's in the film or not."
The fact James had sufficient lung power to play the pipes is even more amazing when you consider the number of cigarettes he had to puff while filming W.E. He said: "I smoked a lot as Edward. I used to smoke almost as much as he did and I hadn't smoked for a while.
"But as soon as we finished the film, I stopped."
There was lots of preparation involved before James was ready to begin filming his royal role.
He added: "I had to learn a number of disciplines. I probably went clay pigeon shooting three times a week, had dance lessons every day, ran every day and went to the gym three times a week."
Madge shines on red carpet FIRST-TIME director Madonna wore vintage and new Cartier jewels on the red carpet at the Venice Film Festival for the premiere of W.E. The initials stand for Wallis and Edward, as engraved on the Duchess of Windsor's jewels.
Cartier, who provided the duchess's originals and the duplicates for the film set, also lent Madonna the jewels she wore to the screening.
Adding a dash of sparkle to her ensemble were three Cartier vintage diamond bracelets from the late 1920s as well as a replica of the cross bracelet that the duchess wore almost daily.
Madonna finished off the look with a chunky Panther ring and platinum and diamond earrings by Cartier.
There has been a resurgence in interest in Wallis Simpson's style in the wake of the film.
Cartier's Pierre Rainero said: "Wallis Simpson was one of the world's greatest style icons.
"One aspect of her style can be attributed to the incredible jewellery she wore, most of which were delicate tokens of the loving devotion that the duke felt for the duchess, who was the bestdressed woman in the world."
and we were doing it for is full of homework in up THE theft of the Duchess of Windsor's jewels in 1946 while she and Edward were at Ednam Lodge, Berkshire, provoked a flurry of rumour. There were claims it was ordered by the Royal Family to get back gems taken by the duke. Others said the pair staged the robbery themselves as an insurance scam. But in 1960, Richard Dunphie confessed to the pounds 20,000 burglary.