Madonna’s Self-Directed Biopic Starring Julia Garner Scrapped


A self-directed biopic about Madonna, a highly-anticipated project in which Julia Garner was reportedly chosen to play the pop star through a brutal boot camp-style audition process, has been canceled, multiple outlets reported Tuesday, as the singer is embarking on a world tour.

Key Facts

Several sources told Variety, who first reported the news, the project is no longer in the works, and a source with knowledge confirmed the report to The Wrap.

It’s not clear why the project was scrapped, or if it will be continued at another studio or at another time.

Last week, Madonna, 64, announced she was embarking on a 40-city world tour, the 12th of her career.

The singer had worked on two versions of the biopic’s script, according to Variety.

Forbes has reached out to Universal Pictures for comment.

Key Background

News about the movie being in the works was first reported in 2020, with Madonna set to direct and co-write the feature with Diablo Cody. Cody departed the project last year, and was replaced by Erin Cressida Wilson. Several major stars were in contention to play Madonna, including Garner, Florence Pugh, Alexa Demie, Odessa Young, Bebe Rehxa, Sky Ferreira and Emma Laird. The months-long auditions process was described by a source to the Hollywood Reporter as “grueling.” The hopefuls were said to be put through a singing and dancing boot camp, which sometimes included 11-hour choreography sessions with Madonna and her choreographer, as well as readings and singing sessions with her. Madonna said she was so involved in the project “because a bunch of people have tried to write movies about me, but they’re always men.”


Music biopics can be massive money makers for studios and their subjects. The Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, made over $900 million after being released in 2018, and caused a resurgence in interest in music from Queen. Elvis Presley’s estate earned $5 million for the rights to his story for Baz Luhrmann’s 2022 movie, but the film has also boosted i sales of King-themed merchandise, Forbes reported last year. A biopic about Michael Jackson was announced last week from Lionsgate.

Forbes Valuation

$575 million. That’s how much Forbes estimated Madonna to be worth, as of June of last year, ranking her at No. 47 on the list of the richest self-made women in America. She’s estimated to have made $1.2 billion through touring in her lifetime.

Further Reading

Madonna Biopic Starring Julia Garner Shelved at Universal (The Wrap)

Madonna Biopic Starring Julia Garner Scrapped as Singer Embarks on World Tour (Variety)

Michael Jackson Biopic In The Works—Despite Controversy Surrounding The Star (Forbes)

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