The Madonna biopic starring Ozark Emmy-winner Julia Garner has reportedly been shelved by Universal Pictures. Madonna was slated to direct the movie herself, which would have been difficult to do while also touring the world. The Material Girl announced a new career-spanning world tour last week.
The movie, which still does not have a title, is no longer in active development, sources told Variety Tuesday. It might have been possible to make the movie while Madonna is on tour, but she is heavily involved in the project. She planned to direct it, making it her first feature-length directing effort since 2011's W.E. Insiders told Variety that Madonna is focusing on the tour, but she is still committed to making a movie about her life in the future. Representatives for Madonna, Garner and Universal Pictures have not commented.
Madonna has been developing a biopic on her life for years. The current production was announced in 2020, but the project was put on hold until last year. She worked on separate drafts with writers Diablo Cody (Juno) and Erin Cressida Wilson (The Girl on the Train) before casting began. In June 2022, Variety reported that Gartner won the lead role, beating out singer Bebe Rexha, Oscar nominee Florence Pugh, Euphoria star Alexa Demie, and The Stand's Odessa Young.
Universal Filmed Entertainment Group Chairman Donna Langley and producer Amy Pascal brought the project to Universal. Sara Zambreno was set to produce with Madonna's longtime manager Guy Oseary. Madonna's relationship with Pascal goes back decades, as Pascal was involved in developing A League of Their Own (1992) at Columbia Pictures.
The biopic would have been Madonna's third time directing a movie. Her first project was Filth and Wisdom, a comedy she filmed in the U.K. She co-wrote the movie with Dan Cadan and cast Eugene Hutz, Holly Weston, and Vicky McClure in the lead roles. In 2011, Madonna directed W.E., a historical drama about the romance between King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. The movie was a box office bomb and was panned by critics. Madonna also co-directed the 2013 short film secretprojectrevolution, which supported artistic freedom and human rights.
Madonna announced her greatest hits tour last week. The North American leg of the Celebration Tour kicks off on July 15 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver and ends with a two-night stand in October at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Her U.K. and Europe tour starts in October with a four-night stand at O2 Arena in London. Many of the shows have already sold out.