Julia Garner wins the months-long Madonna boot camp

·3-min read
Julia Garner in 2022 (Getty Images)
Julia Garner in 2022 (Getty Images)

Julia Garner has won the Madonna boot camp, the months-long audition to play the singer in a new major biopic.

The new film is not only about Madonna but it will also be written by Madonna and directed by Madonna. So on brand.

Reports said that the auditions have been going on for months and have been pretty gruelling, comprising courses in singing and acting like Madonna, readings with Madonna, plus 11-hour sessions with Madonna’s choreographer. And all of this was before the part had even been offered to the competing actors.

It was reported that Florence Pugh and Euphoria star Alexa Demie were late-stage contenders for the biopic and that Bebe Rexha, Emma Laird, and Sky Ferreira had also all been considered. But, according to Variety, Garner has been a frontrunner for the part for months.

The film is set to cover the early days of the singer’s career and life. Further details about a production timeline or other cast members have not yet been released.

“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 about the project.

“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 rollercoaster ride of my life with my voice and vision.”

The biopic was first announced in September 2020. Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Donna Langley was reported to have won the script in a multi-studio bidding war.

Hollywood producer Amy Pascal, whose credits include Little Women, Venom, Molly’s Game and Spider-Man: No Way Home, is set to be producing. She worked with Madonna on A League of Their Own back in 1992.

The singer, 62, was also initially writing the script with Oscar-winning Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody, but Cody had left the project by Spring 2021. Now Erin Cressida Wilson, who wrote the screenplay for the 2009 erotic thriller Chloe and 2016’s The Girl on the Train is said to be on board.

This isn’t Madonna’s directorial debut - the singer made the comedy-drama Filth and Wisdom in 2008. It was awarded a stonking 25 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes tomatometer and was generally panned: The Guardian said it was “dumb and tacky” and Rolling Stone called it “irredeemably dull”.

The singer also directed the historical romantic drama film W.E., about Wallace Simpson and starring Andrea Riseborough, in 2011, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival and divided critics.

In 2017 there was an attempt to make a biopic about the Like A Virgin singer, but without her input. Blond Ambition was picked up by Universal after the script topped the 2016 Black List - the industry list that tracks the most liked unproduced screenplays.

Madonna was furious about the production, saying in an Instagram post: “Why would Universal Studios want to make a movie about me based on a script that is all lies??? Nobody knows what I know and what I have seen. Only I can tell my story. Anyone else who tries is a charlatan and a fool.”

Julia Garner as Anna Delvey in the Netflix series Inventing Anna (AARON EPSTEIN/NETFLIX)
Julia Garner as Anna Delvey in the Netflix series Inventing Anna (AARON EPSTEIN/NETFLIX)

In any case, Madonna got her wish. The singer now has major control over the upcoming biopic about her life, and Garner has been chosen to play the singer. Garner rose to prominence with her leading role in crime drama Ozark, but recently gained a tonne of fans for playing fake heiress and fraudster Anna Delvey in the February-released Netflix series Inventing Anna.

Adopting a convincing Russian-German accent and donning a transformational wig, Garner went viral with Delvey’s one-liners. More than 500 “I do not have time for this. I do not have time for you!” videos were made on TikTok. Netflix isolated the scene on TikTok and it has so far garnered more than 247 thousand likes.

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