Madonna Biopic Dead at Universal

Madonna Biopic Dead at Universal

The Madonna biopic, which Madonna was set to direct, is no longer in development at Universal Pictures, has confirmed. The news comes after the singer announced a major world tour, although multiple sources say the film was shelved late last year ahead of the tour announcement.

Universal had no comment.

The project, which was first announced in 2020, was set to chronicle the singer’s career, which spans almost four decades and stretches well beyond music, as she’s made forays into art, films, fashion and charity. She conquered the music scene of the 1980s and established herself as the Queen of Pop with best-selling albums such as Like a Virgin, True Blue and Like a Prayer. She eventually embarked on a career in Hollywood, including directing and starring in feature films.

As of last year, Julia Garner was the front-runner for the role of Madonna after a lengthy audition process that saw many young stars of a certain age – including Florence Pugh and Odessa Young – step in for the role. According to sources at the time, the hopefuls engaged in intense — sometimes up to 11 hours a day — choreography sessions with Madonna’s choreographer, followed by choreography sessions with Madonna herself. Callbacks consisted of readings with Madonna as well as singing auditions with the superstar.

Amy Pascal was set to produce the film, which was co-written by Secretary Writer Erin Cressida Wilson and Madonna. (Diablo Cody had previously been set to write the project.)

Development has always been a struggle for the film. According to one source, none of the many draft scripts was ever under 180 pages. That led to talks of maybe splitting the film in two, or maybe turning it into an event miniseries. “They’ve had 40 years of success and it’s very difficult to fit that into a film,” the source said.

As for Madonna, at the time of the 2020 project announcement, she said, “I want to convey the incredible journey that life has taken me on as an artist, musician, dancer — as a human being trying to navigate this world.”

Variety first reported the news.