Madonna to direct Michaela DePrince’s memoir Taking Flight
Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures (MGM) announced today that Golden Globe and Grammy Award-winning global icon Madonna is set to direct Taking Flight, based on Michaela DePrince and Elaine DePrince’s Random House Children’s memoir Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina. The announcement was made by Jonathan Glickman, President of Motion Picture Group at MGM.
Camilla Blackett (Fresh Off the Boat, New Girl) will adapt the screenplay for Taking Flight, which follows DePrince’s life as an orphan in war-torn Sierra Leone as she overcomes great odds to become a world famous ballerina. DePrince was featured in the 2012 ballet documentary First Position and later debuted as a professional dancer at the age of 17 in the Joburg Ballet in South Africa. She appeared in Beyonce’s 2016 cultural phenomenon “Lemonade” and is currently a soloist at the Dutch National Ballet.
Madonna made her directing debut on 2008’s Filth and Wisdom, a comedy centered on three flatmates living desperate lives in London which she co-wrote with Dan Cadan. She also directed and co-wrote 2011’s W.E. alongside Alek Keshishian. The drama chronicled the relationship between British King Edward VIII and American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Her upcoming projects include co-writing and directing a film adaptation of Andrew Sean Greer’s novel, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells. Tentatively titled Loved, the film portrays the protagonist’s relationship with her gay twin brother. She produced and wrote I Am Because We Are, a documentary looking into the lives of Malawi’s over one million orphans in the wake of the AIDS pandemic.
A master of personal and professional reinvention, Madonna is the highest-selling female recording artist of all time. She has sold more than 300 million albums worldwide and has won over 200 awards, including seven Grammy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and two Brit Awards.
Glickman said: “We could not be more thrilled that Madonna will bring this remarkable story to the big screen. There is no director better suited to tell Michaela’s journey with passion and sensitivity, and we cannot wait to bring this film to audiences all around the world.”
Madonna also commented on the project, saying, “Michaela’s journey resonated with me deeply as both an artist and an activist who understands adversity. We have a unique opportunity to shed light on Sierra Leone and let Michaela be the voice for all the orphaned children she grew up beside. I am honored to bring her story to life.”
Alloy Entertainment’s Leslie Morgenstein and Elysa Koplovitz Dutton will produce alongside Ben Pugh and Guy Oseary. Glickman and Tabitha Shick, MGM’s Executive Director of Worldwide Motion Pictures, are overseeing the project on behalf of the studio.
“We were immediately awestruck by Michaela’s journey and know Madonna’s vision and passion for the material will deliver a film that inspires audiences everywhere,” said Les Morgenstein.
A production start date has not yet been announced.