The Madonna biopic that was to be directed by the star herself is no longer in development at Universal Pictures, Variety has confirmed.
The news comes after the singer announced a massive world tour, though multiple sources say the movie was put in turnaround late last year, before the tour’s announcement.
The project, which was first announced in 2020, was going to chronicle the singer’s career, which spans almost four decades and has gone far beyond music as she has made forays into art, movies, fashion and charity.
As of last year, Julia Garner was the frontrunner to play Madonna after a long audition process that saw many young stars – including Florence Pugh and Odessa Young – go out for the role. Amy Pascal was set to produce the movie, which Secretary writer Erin Cressida Wilson and Madonna co-wrote.
The development was reportedly always a struggle for the flick. None of the many drafts of the scripts were ever under 180 pages, a source told Variety. That led to conversations about potentially splitting the movie into two or even making it into a miniseries. “You have 40 years of success, and it’s very hard to put that into one movie,” said the source.
Madonna said at the time of the project’s announcement in 2020, “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.”
When asked about the progress she’d made with the movie by Variety in 2022, Madonna replied: “I have a very long script that is really hard for me to make shorter. I’ve been whittling away at it, but it’s like hacking off my limbs.”
Madonna is due to kick off the North American leg of her ‘Celebration Tour’ in July, before the European run begins in October at London’s O2 Arena.