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The Muse
The world may never have discovered Cole Porter's genius if it wasn't for his wife, Linda. "Porter didn't have the kind of success he wanted until after he met Linda,” says Winkler. "He was the genius behind his songs, but Linda helped very, very much in arranging opportunities for him and pushing him towards success.”

Linda was Porter's companion, guardian, best friend, and conscience; there was no one in the world more important to him. Interestingly enough, Linda was a force in her own right before she even met Porter; she came from money and was a member of high society. Their partnership, however, made them both even stronger and more high profile.

One example of Linda's strength and her importance in Cole's life is dramatized in the film. After Porter's horseback riding accident, Linda was the person who maintained they should never amputate his legs, despite the incredible pain the accident left him with. "She said he was a man of such pride it would have killed his spirit, thus killing his music,” Winkler says. "After Linda died, they eventually went ahead and amputated Porter's leg – and he never wrote again. She knew Porter better than anyone in the world.”

Because of Linda and Cole's relationship, being Linda wasn't always easy; finding an actress to play Linda wasn't easy either. "Linda is a tough character,” says producer Cowan. "It's a period piece, so you have to be able to feel and look period, and that's not as easy as it sounds. Linda is very strong willed, but vulnerable as well, so we needed an actress that could pull that off, too.” They found their Linda in acclaimed actress Ashley Judd.

"We were worried we wouldn't be able to get Ashley, but her agent gave her the script and she loved it,” says Winkler. "She's a wonderful actress, she has great training – we were thrilled to get her.”

"She's extremely appealing and charming, which was essential to the character,” adds Charles Winkler, "and she has this great inner and outer beauty about her. She has a very strong sense of self and sense of direction, and that comes across in the character.”

Judd did plenty of research for her role, and was amazed at what a fascinating person Linda was. She also found a bit of a kindred spirit. "Linda was born and raised in Littlehole, Kentucky, which endeared her to me instantly,” says Judd. "She was extraordinarily stylish and had a fantastic eye for art and talent. She was very sophisticated, very clever, and very culturally alive.”

In addition to helping Porter's career in overt ways, Judd found small things that also demonstrated Linda's devotion to Cole and helped her build a more complete picture of the woman she was to portray onscreen. "She had an amazing room built for Cole at their home in Paris so he could work,” she says. "It had a white floor, white walls, white piano, white pencils, and she had a wall removed and replaced it with a large, wall-sized piece of frosted glass which was left plain around the shape of a beautiful tree growing in their courtyard. She knew how easily distracted he was, so he had the tree to look at for beauty and inspiration, but he couldn't see what else was going on outside.” Knowing these details enabled Judd to fully embody the role and bring Linda to life.

Cole and Linda's day-to-day lifestyle was one of the most colorful aspects of their relationship, Judd feels. "The people they surrounded themselves with were extraordinary,” she says, "whether it was the Irving Berlins or the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. They were funny and charming and could not stand bores; they were social icons.”

Her talent as an actress and the research she did made Judd very confident on set – except in one arena. Despite her famous family's musical background (her mother, Naomi, and sister, Wynonna, are known to millions separately and as The Judds), Ashley h

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