A highly anticipated Madonna biopic, directed by the singer herself and starring Ozark actor Julia Garner, has been scrapped.
The film, which has been in development at Universal Pictures since 2020 and has the working title Little Sparrow, is said to chronicle Madonna’s four-decade career in music, film and fashion.
According to a report from Variety on Tuesday, Universal pulled out after Madonna’s announcement of a worldwide tour last week — one that spans her entire back catalog and sells out dates in New York, Paris and London in minutes.
But unnamed insiders told the Hollywood Reporter that the movie’s cancellation was decided late last year, long before the tour was announced.
There is no comment from Universal, nor representatives from Madonna or Garner.
The biopic had caused a lot of online frenzy due to its grueling casting process, which came to be known as “Madonna boot camp”: 11-hour days of choreography, as well as readings and singing auditions for Madonna and her casting director.
Before Garner took the role, young stars — including Florence Pugh, Euphoria breakout Alexa Demie, and pop musicians Bebe Rexha and Sky Ferreira — were considered. Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody was once attached to write the screenplay. Cody and Madonna appeared together in an Instagram live in late 2020 and took part in an unconventional live writing session.
A second draft of the script was then completed by Madonna with Erin Cressida Wilson, best known for her screenwriting for Secretary and The Girl on the Train.
Sources told Variety that Madonna is still committed to making the film despite Universal pulling out.
“I want to convey the incredible journey that life has taken me as an artist, musician, dancer – a human being trying to find her way in this world,” said the singer in 2020. and inspiring stories and who better to tell that than me .
“It’s essential to share the roller coaster ride of my life with my voice and vision.”
Madonna has two directing credits to her name: the provocative comedy-drama Filth and Wisdom, and WE, a time-hopping romance about King Edward VIII.