RIP to the Madonna biopic

Written by on 25/01/2023

We were so excited for the mysterious upcoming Madonna biopic from Universal (and directed by the legendary pop artist herself), mainly because of the seemingly-insane and intense Hunger Games-esque bootcamp some of our fave actors took part in over 2022. After an intense few months, Inventing Anna’s Julia Garner beat out Don’t Worry Darling’s Florence Pugh, Euphoria queen Alexa Demie, indie sleaze icon Sky Ferreira, pop girlie Bebe Rexha along with up and coming actors Odessa Young and Emma Laird to land the coveted role back in August. Sadly, though, all that work, hair frizzing and learning the words to “Like A Prayer” was for nought: The Madonna biopic has been cancelled.

Variety reported confirmations from multiple sources that the movie is no longer in development at Universal, in large part due to Madonna currently focusing on her recently-announced, career-spanning upcoming world tour that sold out within minutes in many cities globally. They add, though, that Madonna does plan to make a film about her life one day.

Little was known about the plot of the movie, nor did it have a release date. Leading production was Amy Pascal (Little Women) while the script was written by Erin Cressida Wilson (who was behind The Girl On The Train and the upcoming live action Snow White). The movie was reportedly set to culminate in what is considered one of the greatest world tour’s of all time, The Blonde Ambition Tour.

Little was known about the mysterious casting bootcamp too. What we do know is that, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the casting process was led by Carmen Cuba who has previously worked on Stranger Things, The Idol and Nope, and reportedly involved “gruelling” choreo sessions that could last up to 11-hours-a-day with both Madonna and her personal choreographer. Apparently, Madonna also did readings with the girls and singing auditions too, with the whole process whittling down its list of hopefuls over the course of several months. 

“The reason I’m doing [the movie] is because a bunch of people have tried to write movies about me, but they’re always men,” Madonna told Jimmy Fallon in October 2021. With Universal behind it, the biopic was sure to have a big-theatrical release too and potentially be an award-season magnet in the same way as Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman.

With Madonna continuing to be a booked and busy cultural force to be reckoned with globally, perhaps this tour will only bring us new stories for a potential movie, whenever it may come. For the “Bitch, I’m Madonna” apologists, maybe some of her more recent tracks will be included. Maybe it will feature her most iconic performance of all time: singing “Vogue” with Donatella, Paris Hilton, Selena Gomez, Drew Barrymore and Britney at the latter’s wedding. Every cloud has its silver lining!


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