Madonna recently teased that she is writing a biopic based on her life, but the feature film has now landed at Universal, and Madonna will not just write her own story but also direct the film at the studio.
Madonna is co-writing the screenplay alongside Diablo Cody (“Juno”), and the untitled film will focus on her five-decade career and tell the untold story of her transformation as an artist, entrepreneur and feminist icon, as well as feature her music.
Amy Pascal is producing the film alongside Madonna for Pascal Pictures. Sara Zambreno and Guy Oseary will executive produce.
“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. It’s essential to share the roller coaster ride of my life with my voice and vision.”
Madonna previously said during an Instagram Live session last week that the project will document her coming up as an artist in New York in the early ’80s and her interactions with Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Martin Burgoyne. It also touches on her time filming “Evita,” which she says led to an uncomfortable encounter with Andrew Lloyd Webber as she was adapting his stage musical.
Madonna further clarified that the movie is not a musical but does feature key moments from her musical career, including scenes of her writing “Like a Prayer” — and the ensuing sponsorship conflict with Pepsi over the song’s music video.
“Madonna is the ultimate icon, humanitarian, artist and rebel. With her singular gift of creating art that is as accessible as it is boundary-pushing, she has shaped our culture in a way very few others have,” Donna Langley, chairman, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, said in a statement. “It’s an incredible honor for everyone at Universal to work alongside her, Diablo, and Amy to bring audiences and dedicated fans around the world her unvarnished story for the first time.”
“This movie is an absolute labor of love for me,” Pascal said. “I have known Madonna since we made ‘A League of Their Own’ together, and I can’t imagine anything more thrilling than collaborating with her and Diablo on bringing her true-life story to the big screen with Donna and our partners at Universal.”
Senior executive vice president of production Erik Baiers and director of development Lexi Barta will oversee the project on behalf of Universal Pictures.
Madonna has sold 335 million records worldwide and remains the highest-grossing solo touring artist of all time. As an actress, she’s appeared in “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “Dick Tracy,” “A League of Their Own” and “Evita,” for which she won a Golden Globe. And as a director she has worked in theater with the 2011 historical drama “W./E.” and her short films “Filth & Wisdom,” “SecretProjectRevolution” and the documentary “I Am Because We Are” about the children of Malawi.
Cody most recently wrote “Tully” starring Charlize Theron, and she recently became attached to write a new, teenage take on “The Powerpuff Girls.”
Madonna is represented by CAA and Maverick, and Cody is represented by WME, MXN Entertainment and McKuin Frankel Whitehead LLP.
17 Pop Stars Who Transitioned Into Movies, From Cher to Lady Gaga (Photos)
Scroll through for TheWrap's look at pop stars who have made the leap to film.
Sinatra became an icon for his music, but his career was far from limited to singing. He won an Oscar for his performance in "From Here to Eternity" and has dozens more film acting credits.
David Bowie was undoubtedly one of the world's biggest rock stars, but he also had a wide-ranging acting career. From eclectic films like "The Man Who Fell to Earth" to more serious movies like the World War II drama "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence," Bowie showed his acting chops. He had a strange and unforgettable cameo in David Lynch's "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" and also starred in Jim Henson's 1986 family fantasy "Labyrinth."
The pop icon started her music career as half of Sonny and Cher in the 1960s. The two starred in "The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour" in the '70s, and then Cher broke into a solo music career before pursuing acting in the '80s. It was a good career move. She was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her work in "Silkwood" and won the award for Best Actress for her role in "Moonstruck."
The pop icon acted in several movies throughout the '80s, '90s and '00s, and even moved into directing. She was quite good in "A League of Their Own," but she also starred in "Swept Away," which won Madonna and the picture Worst Actress of the Decade and Worst Movie of the Decade at the 2010 Razzie Awards. Another stinker that helped land her low on our list: the widely panned 1993 psycho-sexual thriller "Body of Evidence."
Smith started his hip-hop career as part of the duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. He starred on the sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" for six seasons before becoming a box office titan in titles like "Men in Black" and "I Am Legend." And -- oh, yeah -- he's been nominated for two Oscars.
Marky Mark ditched that moniker after his TV movie debut in "The Substitute" in 1993, which helped him pivot onto the big screen with roles in films ranging from the iconic "Boogie Nights" to "Transformers: The Last Knight." And yes, he's got two Oscar nods under his belt to boot.
Jenny from the block has made herself known as a triple threat. She starred as the late iconic Tejano singer in "Selena" in 1997, and since has gathered several movie and TV credits, including for the critical hit "Out of Sight," opposite George Clooney.
Born Dana Elaine Owens, Queen Latifah broke onto the music scene in 1988 with her single "Wrath of My Madness." Later, her single "U.N.I.T.Y." earned her her first Grammy. Latifah broke into acting in the 1990s, and her performance in 2002's "Chicago" snagged her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
The princess of pop's foray into acting was short lived -- for good reason. Her 2002 movie "Crossroads" won her Worst Actress at the Razzie Awards. It was enough to take her off any path to silver screen success.
The former NSync singer has continued his solo music career in tandem with several movie projects. Timberlake was recently nominated for best original song at the Oscars for "Can't Stop the Feeling" in "Trolls" -- for which he also voiced a lead character. He's done comedy -- as in "Friends With Benefits" with Mila Kunis -- and drama, as in "Inside Llewyn Davis." But his best film role is arguably as Silicon Valley bad boy Sean Parker in 2010's Oscar winning biopic "The Social Network."
Moore's breakout movie might be "A Walk to Remember," but she's also starred in rom-coms like "Chasing Liberty" and "Because I Said So." She is the voice of Rapunzel in Disney's "Tangled," and has been nominated for Golden Globe and Teen Choice awards. She currently stars on NBC's "This Is Us."
Hudson starred in her very first film with Beyonce Knowles in "Dreamgirls" as Effie White. The performance landed the "American Idol" alum an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, launching her multi-hyphenate acting and singing career.
Kravitz has several acting credits, from comedies like "Zoolander" to dramas like "Precious" and "The Butler" -- to pop culture sensations like "The Hunger Games."
In spite of the fact that she largely sticks to music, Queen Bey's transition from the recording studio to the movie studio hasn't been too shabby: She made her movie debut in "Austin Powers Goldmember" as Foxxy Cleopatra. In 2006, she starred as Deena Jones in "Dreamgirls," for which she nominated for Best Original Song at the Golden Globes.
Chris Bridges, a.k.a. Ludacris, joined the "Fast and Furious" franchise in 2003 as Tej Parker after already establishing himself as one of the most popular hip-hop artists of the early 2000s.
The former One Direction band member is one of the desperate British troops stuck on "the mole" in Christopher Nolan's new World War II movie "Dunkirk," an Oscar nominee for Best Picture. Styles does a great job, but one movie makes it hard to judge his future acting success.
The pop singer (born Stefani Germanotta) made a splash with her film debut, Bradley Cooper's remake of "A Star Is Born," earning an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. But was it really such a stretch to play a rising-star singer?
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These singers have moved from music to movies with varied levels of success
Scroll through for TheWrap's look at pop stars who have made the leap to film.