Madonna Biopic Not Moving Forward at Universal

Written by on January 25, 2023

The pop icon, who recently announced a world tour, was meant to direct the film starring Julia Garner.

Madonna’s biopic about her own life, which the pop icon was expected to co-write and direct at Universal, is not moving forward at the studio and is no longer in development, IndieWire has learned.

Julia Garner was attached to star in the film as the “Like a Virgin” singer, but speculation that the film was on hold began when Madonna announced a world tour that will kick off in July. Madonna and Universal announced the project back in 2020, but development stalled last year. Diablo Cody (“Juno,” “Jagged Little Pill” musical) was writing the script, with a revision by Erin Cressida Wilson. Madonna even shared images of her writing sessions alongside Cody after the project was announced.

Garner, known for “Inventing Anna” and “Ozark,” won the role after reports that a group of young starlets all participated in a boot camp of singing and dancing. Other stars such as Bebe Rexha, Florence Pugh, and Alexa Demie also participated and auditioned for the role.

Universal had no comment. Reps for Madonna and Garner did not respond to a request for comment.

Variety, which first reported the news, said via insiders that Madonna still desires to make a movie about her life someday.

Amy Pascal was a producer on the Madonna biopic, alongside executive producers Sara Zambreno and Guy Oseary, Madonna’s longtime manager.

Madonna previously directed 2008’s “Filth and Wisdom” and 2011’s “W.E.” Madonna previously discussed the film, saying that while the focus of the film would be the music, it would follow “the incredible journey that life has taken me on as an artist, a musician, a dancer — a human being, trying to make her way in this world.” Older hints on social media suggested the film would be called “Little Sparrow.” THR had also previously reported that early drafts the film ended around the time of the 1990 Blond Ambition tour.

Prior to Madonna taking on the role of director, Universal at one point flirted with an adaptation of a biopic titled “Blond Ambition” written by Elyse Hollander that topped the Black List of the most recommended unproduced screenplays, prompting Madonna to respond by saying, “Only I can tell my story.”

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