Madonna "cried and cried" as she watched her ex-husband Sean Penn play homosexual politician Harvey Milk in biopic "Milk" - because the film reminded her of the gay friends she has lost to AIDS. Penn won a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California, in the 2008 biopic, and the singer admits the drama brought her to tears.
In an interview with the film's director Gus Van Sant in the new issue of Interview magazine, Madonna says, "Milk was such a brilliant film. I cried and cried. I loved it. He (Penn) is amazing... He's got a fire under his a**, that's for sure, a bee in his bonnet... I could see why he would be attracted to the role and be able to say yes in two seconds. Watching Milk was such a trip down memory lane for me."
"What the movie triggered for me was all my early days in New York and the scene that I came up in... with Andy Warhol and Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf. It was just so alive with art and politics and this wonderful spirit. So many of those people are dead now. I think that's one of the reasons I cried."
"I don't know why I'm bringing all this up, but I guess it's just coming from that world in Michigan and the trajectory of my life: after going to New York and being a dancer when the whole AIDS epidemic started and nobody knew what it was. And then suddenly, all these beautiful men around me, people who I loved so dearly, were dying - just one after the next."
"It was just such a crazy time. And watching the world freak out - the gay community was so ostracised. But it was also when I was beginning my career." She tells Van Sant, "Your movie really struck a chord for me and made me remember all that. It's a time I don't think many people have captured on film. It's a time that people don't talk about much. And even though there was so much death, for me, New York was so alive."