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See if your quarantine project can top this: Madonna is writing a biopic with Diablo Cody, the pair confirmed on a wide-ranging Instagram Live on September 10. The Queen of Pop had previously alluded to a new project with Cody — between questioning the COVID-19 pandemic and enjoying her bathtub — telling fans a month ago that the two were writing together. Last night’s Instagram Live was a live writing session, starting on page 107 (!), which depicts a scene where Madonna’s sister Paula Ciccone confronts her in London while Madonna was there working on Evita. Along with writing lines like “Duh!” Madonna shared details of the new movie with fans. “The focus is really about my struggle as an artist, right?” she asked Cody, who gave the camera a few concerned glances in the hour-plus session. “Trying to survive in a man’s world as a woman. And really just the journey, which has been happy, sad, mad, crazy, good, bad, and ugly.” If that’s not enough for you, Madonna ran through some of the details that would be in the film, including her come-up in the early 1980s New York avant-garde scene (featuring Andy Warhol’s “monosyllabic answers to everything”), the writing of her hit “Like a Prayer,” and meeting Jose Gutierez Xtravaganza and Luis Xtravaganza, the ballroom performers who helped inspire “Vogue.”
As for the Evita scene, Madonna said, “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.” She added, “I think I had a few nervous breakdowns worrying that I was going to be fired every day, basically.” When a fan asked her if Webber was “nice,” Madonna replied, “No, he wasn’t. He was not nice to me. I’m not sure he even wanted me in the movie. Thank God, Alan Parker did.” (A rep for Webber contested this in a statement to Entertainment Weekly: “She must have Andrew confused with somebody else,” Webber’s team said in a statement to EW, as if one can confuse Andrew Lloyd Webber with anyone else. “Andrew and Madonna had a very smooth and productive working relationship on the Evita film.”)
Madonna and Cody also gave some details of the film itself — namely, that it involves Little Women producer Amy Pascal, who told Madonna the movie could be two hours long. As for who’ll play Madonna, it won’t be the woman herself. On “who can fill my shoes in a movie,” Madonna simply said, “Someone who wears a size 8.” Fans have speculated that the star could be Julia Garner, whom Madonna and her manager recently followed on Instagram, as EW pointed out, and who shares her blonde, curly locks.
“The process of writing is pretty boring to watch,” Madonna said, although her messy Instagram Live was anything but. As she asked Cody to increase her font size and sipped rosé, Madonna explained, “This is how we write: We chat, we drink, we write.” Consider that gospel coming from a woman with a hit called “Express Yourself.”
Update, September 15: In an even more beautifully messy development, Variety now reports that Madonna’s biopic will be directed by none other than Madonna herself. Pascal is indeed producing the film, as Madonna and Cody confirmed, for Universal Pictures. (Pascal and Madonna previously worked together on A League of Their Own in 1992.) “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 said in a statement to Variety. “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. It’s essential to share the roller coaster ride of my life with my voice and vision.” Madonna has previously directed two films, Filth and Wisdom and W./E.