Madonna is still taking the reins!
On Tuesday, the global superstar confirmed she is co-writing and directing an upcoming movie biopic about her life.
Madonna, who last directed the 2011 film W.E., will be co-writing the script with Oscar-winning Juno scribe Diablo Cody.
"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, 62, said on her website. "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," she continued. "It's essential to share the roller coaster ride of my life with my voice and vision."
The film is being developed with producer Amy Pascal, who has previously worked with the singer on the 1992 film A League of Their Own. The movie will be a Universal production.
Another script about the singer's life, Blond Ambition, was in development at Universal. Blond Ambition was written by Elyse Hollander, who topped the 2016 Black List with what was deemed by roughly 500 studio executives as the best un-produced screenplay in Hollywood.
Madonna slammed the project in April 2017 on Instagram, writing, "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," she wrote at the time. "Looking for instant gratification without doing the work. This is a disease in our society."
Since then, the "Vogue" singer has been hard at work developing her own life story, sharing videos and photographs of herself conducting research for the project on her social media accounts.
Madonna and Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody spoke at length recently about a new biopic they're writing about the performer's rise to superstardom and her influence over popular culture.
Speaking during an Instagram Live session, Madonna and Cody said they've written about 100 pages of the film. The as-yet-untitled project will cover Madonna's early days in New York, where she ran in artistic circles that included queer legends like Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, who Madonna had a relationship with, will also figure in the film.
The film will have comedic elements to it, Entertainment Weekly reported the duo as saying, with amusing appearances from Warhol and Madonna's sister, Paula Ciccone.
The movie will also cover Madonna after she became a household name, including the making of her lauded Like a Prayer album, as well as her Golden Globe-winning turn as Evita in the 1996 film of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. In the Instagram session, Madonna said she often sparred with Webber, though the iconic composer disputed that description to EW.
Not disregarded will be the "Vogue" era, when Madonna borrowed - some say appropriated - from the queer POC ball community for one of her biggest hits. One scene will depict her first meeting with ball icons Jose Gutierez Xtravaganza and Luis Xtravaganza.
There has not been an official casting notice, but Madonna seems to be leaning toward 26-year-old Ozark actress Julia Garner to play her. Watch the Instagram Live session below.
From The Advocate
Madonna’s COVID diaries took a detour on Thursday.
The “Vogue” singer, 62, posted a more than hourlong Instagram Live video of herself working with “Juno” screenwriter Diablo Cody on her biopic. Several times during the video, Cody can be seen surreptitiously giving Jim Halpert-esque looks to the camera a la “The Office.”
The meandering video opens with the pair discussing a scene where Madonna’s sister Paula Ciccone confronts the singer in London while she was filming director Alan Parker’s screen adaptation of the musical “Evita.”
“I was totally and utterly intimidated by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice and the story of Eva Perón, the real historical story, and living up to all the great singers and actresses who had played her before me,” the “Like a Virgin” chanteuse remembered. “I think I had a few nervous breakdowns worrying that I was going to be fired every day, basically.”
She then revealed that Webber wasn’t particularly kind to her.
“He was not nice to me,” she claimed. “I’m not sure he even wanted me in the movie. Thank God, Alan Parker did.”
Rick Miramontez, a spokesman for Lloyd Webber wrote in a statement: “She must have Andrew confused with somebody else. Andrew and Madonna had a very smooth and productive working relationship on the ‘Evita’ film.”
One person involved with the musical - Patti LuPone, who originated the role on Broadway - thinks Madonna was terrible in the movie.
“I thought it was a piece of s - - t,” she told “Watch What Happens Live” host Andy Cohen in 2017. “Madonna is a movie killer.”
I keep forgetting that Im writing about myself........... I can’t make shit up! But in fact I dont need to. The truth will set you free and also be devastating! 😨😀😬😂 #screenplay #diablocody #movie pic.twitter.com/Gs4lRa9K0K— Madonna (@Madonna) September 8, 2020
Marlene Stewart designed some infamous outfits for the music videos and live performances of Madonna, and she revealed the backstory for one of the pop star's most iconic looks ever.
"Well, when I started working with her, I mean, it was really an easy match because it was like playing dress up," Stewart told TODAY ahead of the 2020 Video Music Awards on Sunday night. "We had a great time. She's really easy to work with because she really loves clothes. She knows her body. and that's part of her look."
Stewart, who started her career in fashion by working in the garment industry, designed for the pop star from approximately 1984 to 1992 before later working more heavily in the film industry.
"She'll give you the time that you need for fittings," Stewart said of their working relationship. "So the most important thing for a costume designer is to have someone that participates and really wants to be there. And now many years later, we can look back and know that she understood the power of her look. So she gave it 100 percent or 1,000 percent of her attention."
Stewart ended up winning awards for the costumes she created in Madonna's video for "Material Girl," which was inspired by Marilyn Monroe's pink gown during her performance of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” in the 1953 film “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” But Stewart also designed another key look in the history of Madonna's wardrobe: her costume for the 1990 VMAs performance of "Vogue."
"We know historically that the French were the biggest posers and it's the whole idea of voguing and posing," Stewart explained of her inspiration for the costume. "So it was the perfect transition. I suggested for this kind of French court situation with Marie Antoinette. It's really one of the origins, right? All they did was, 'Strike a pose.'"
When asked if it was her idea, she said it was, before adding, "I think one always has to say it's a collaboration. I would never say anything was completely mine. Every time you work with an artist, you work on something together."
"It's a team effort, You can't do anything by yourself"
"I think that she was in a super creative space at that time. That was really the origin story, if you will, and creating really special things ourselves. She didn't want designer works that she was an advertisement for. It was about her being an original."
Considering that some of her designs, including Madonna's black slip dress in "Like a Prayer," were deemed controversial at the time, Stewart explained she never gave the blowback much credence.
"I didn't take it super seriously. For some people, it was very jarring and jolting and provocative, but I kind of have a neutral feeling about it because some people maybe that were very religious, took it to heart and were insulted."
"I saw it as entertainment. You can say that she's making a political statement or that creating controversy is the thing that Madonna does, but she always just changed it up. She pushed the boundaries like any artist would do."
Stewart looks back and acknowledges that it was a great time to be working in music videos, because music videos really dictated so much of culture.
"It was a time when videos, even though it was the beginning, it was also sort of the peak time for MTV those few years," she said. "We really created trends all around the world and it really was the beginning of a movement. So it was an incredible opportunity to be there at that time and have those experiences."
"MTV was made for Madonna and Madonna was made for MTV."