Well, this is interesting. Sick of all those by-the-numbers biopics that tell the life of a famous person in pretty similar, rote ways? Well what if the subject themselves directed their own biopic? That’s exactly what’s happening with Madonna, who is co-writing and directing her own biopic at Universal. She’ll pen the film alongside Diablo Cody (Juno, Young Adult).
The studio had previously been working on a Madonna film titled Blonde Ambition and based on the well-received Black List script by Elyse Hollander. However, while the industry liked the script, Madonna did not. On instagram at the time, she wrote:
“Nobody knows what I know and what I have seen. Only I can tell my story. Anyone else who tries is a charlatan and a fool looking for instant gratification without doing the work”.
Well, now she’ll get the chance to tell her story (but hopefully not be a fool or charlatan). It makes sense for Universal to have her approval, as similar biopics like Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman were made with their subjects’ blessing – I mean, sort of, in Bohemian Rhapsody‘s case – and if Madonna is so passionate about it, why not bring her on board in any capacity she likes.
Madonna will also produce the film alongside Amy Pascal, who she worked on in 1992’s A League Of Their Own. Universal executives Erik Baiers and Lexi Barta will oversee on behalf of the studio, which still holds the rights to Blonde Ambition, but is no longer developing that project.
“I want to convey 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”, Madonna said in a statement. “The focus of this film will always be music. Music has kept me going and art has kept me alive. There are so many untold and inspiring stories, and who better to tell it than me?”
Madonna doesn’t exactly need an introduction, but for context, she’s the best-selling female music artist in history, having sold 335 million records worldwide, and remains the highest-grossing solo touring artist of all time. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, and has also fought for LGBTQ rights, gender equality, and supported vulnerable children through her non-profit organisation, Raising Malawi.
She also had a solid movie career in the 80s and early 90s, appearing in films such as Desperately Seeking Susan, Dangerous Game and Dick Tracy, before moving onto directing projects such as 2008 British dramedy Filth & Wisdom and 2011 romantic drama W.E., which starred Abbie Cornish and Oscar Isaac.
So this should be pretty fascinating. How will Madonna seek to tell her own story on the big screen? It’s also a massive plus that she’s got Cody on board to co-write, who has also proven to be a writer unafraid to tell unique stories about equally unique women. On paper this is an excellent pairing.
Hopefully the studio doesn’t meddle too much and turn the film into too much of a milquetoast crowdpleaser, because if Madonna and Cody are able to do their thing, this could turn into one of the more distinctive studio movies in recent years. Attention will now naturally turn to who will portray Madonna in the film. Expect to hear about this project a lot more in the next year or so.