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Madonna Likens Editing Biopic Script to ‘Hacking Off’ Limbs of Her Legacy

The "Lucky Star" pop icon has been "whittling away" at the screenplay for her yet-untitled biopic set to star Julia Garner.

Madonna attends the 11th annual Billboard Women in Music honors at Pier 36 on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, in New York. Billboard Women in Music 2016 will air Dec. 12 on Lifetime. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)


Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Madonna is “Hung Up” on perfecting the script to her life story.

The multi-hyphenate pop icon is writing and directing her own musical biopic from a script co-written with Erin Cressida Wilson. Yet the screenplay editing process has been no “Holiday.”

“I have a very long script that is really hard for me to make shorter,” Madonna told Variety. “I’ve been whittling away at it, but it’s like hacking off my limbs.”

Julia Garner was offered the role of playing the “Like a Virgin” singer, with Julia Fox being rumored to portray Madonna’s longtime friend and fellow actress Debi Mazar.

Madonna continued, “I’ve had an extraordinary life, I must make an extraordinary film. It was also a preemptive strike because a lot of people were trying to make movies about me. Mostly misogynistic men. So I put my foot in the door and said, ‘No one’s going to tell my story, but me.'”

The untitled film culminates with Madonna’s 1990 Blonde Ambition tour and will require multiple dancing and singing sequences. Casting director Carmen Cuba led a boot camp of sorts with the final five actresses up for the role of Madonna going through “up to 11-hour-a-day choreography sessions” with Madonna’s personal choreographer, followed by choreography sessions with the Grammy winner herself.

As for how the film is coming along, Madonna said last year to the Associated Press (via E! Online), “It’s a pretty crazy experience so far, I’m just in the writing process, and just deciding which stories to tell, how much detail to go into, which characters to develop. It’s really been a long and arduous process, but it’s been really therapeutic as well.”

During an October 2021 appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” Madonna slammed previous attempts at studios taking control of her life story, including one to be directed by a man who had “no understanding of women.”

“I’m not even gonna say his name, but he’s a total misogynist [and he] was directing and I’m looking, ‘Why would these people make a movie about my life?’” she added. “There’s nothing true in the script, the guy who’s making it has no understanding of women. No appreciation for women. No respect for women.”

Madonna concluded, “This happened a couple of times and I had to like call people up — call up the heads of studios, call up my agents — threaten them and say that I will stand in front of the building and protest and make everybody’s life a misery if they go through with it, and they still did not take me seriously. So finally I just threw down the gauntlet.”

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