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R.I.P. All Hope for the Madonna Biopic (2020-2023)

Madonna with a Golden Globe award.
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

Everybody comes to Hollywood, but the Madonna biopic won’t make it in the neighborhood. According to multiple reports, the film, which Madonna planned to direct herself, is now considered dead at Universal. It may still happen someday, in some form, but for now it joins Beyoncé’s Renaissance visuals, Phoebe Philo’s namesake fashion label, and Sky Ferreira’s Masochism album in the limbo land of projects that may or may not actually ever see the light of day.

The reason, or at least one of them, is pretty obvious. Madonna has decided to embark on a world tour instead. The Celebration Tour, which promises to be Madonna’s first greatest hits tour, will kick off in July and run through December, covering large swaths of North America and Europe in the process. With it, most of her 2023 itinerary is booked up.

Alas, that means the film is off.

Madonna first announced the project in 2020, and not only planned to direct but was involved in the writing process as well. Writers Diablo Cody and Erin Cressida Wilson were both reportedly on board, and Madonna even shared some of the process in some memorable Instagram lives.

Of course, the matter of who would play Madonna captivated corners of the Internet for months. Sydney Sweeney, Alexa Demie, Barbie Ferreira, Florence Pugh, Bebe Rexha, and Odessa Young were linked to the part. The trades reported that some sort of bootcamp with intense dance training sessions were taking up the time of some of Hollywood’s hottest young talent. Eventually Julia Garner was all-but-officially-confirmed to have won out. It was also widely expected that Julia Fox was up for the part of Madonna’s BFF Debi Mazar. But then ...silence.

Variety adds that, “her sole focus is the tour, but she remains committed to making a film about her life one day.” “Time goes by so slowly,” as they say.

The news comes on a noteworthy day for Madonna, the director. Andrea Riseborough, the star of Madonna’s first major directorial effort, the 2011 film W.E., scored one of the most surprising Oscar nominations in history.

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