2.25.2011

Madonnas Billionaire backer


Madonna leaving the press conference for &quot...

Madonna, director. Image via WikipediaIndian billionaireAnil Ambanidoesn't mess around when deciding where to invest his fortune in Hollywood. When the Mumbai-based mogul decided to get into the movie game, he went straight to the top, committing $825 million to fellow billionaire Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks production house in 2009. Now, his firm's movie arm Reliance Big Entertainment is betting on another high-profile director, of sorts: Madonna.

The Financial Times reports that IM Global, a Reliance-controlled film distributor, has the rights to the Material Girl's 'W.E', based on the scandalous relationship between England's King Edward VIII and American socialite Wallis Simpson. The FT quotes IM Global's CEO describing his firm's relationship with Ambani's Reliance, and it sounds like a pretty great deal for the agency:

"We've been acting as a conduit for Reliance , using its money and its balance sheet," says Stuart Ford, chief executive, a former entertainment lawyer who left London 12 years ago to work for Harvey Weinstein's Miramax.

This isn't Madonna's first directorial outing; she helmed a film called 'Filth and Wisdom' in 2008. It would be charitable to say it wasn't exactlymet with rave reviews. However, as the FT notes, the Edwardian era is all the rage right now: 'The King's Speech', the story of Edward VIII's brother George VI, is predicted to clean up in Sunday's Academy Awards.

Still, if Madonna's movie is more 'The Next Best Thing' than 'The King's Speech', Ambani won't lose much sleep: he's hedged his bets and secured development deals with more consistently bankable stars like Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt and George Clooney, according to the FT.