Madonna Set to Direct Film Adaptation of Michaela Deprince’s Memoir ‘Taking Flight’

Madonna was announced on Tuesday as the director for the upcoming MGM film Taking Flight, a movie based on ballet dancer Michaela Deprince’s memoir Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina.

The plot centers around Deprince, who spent her childhood as an orphan in war-torn Sierra Leone, only to be adopted and taken to the United States, where she later rose to prominence as a world-famous ballerina. The film’s screenplay will be adapted by Camilla Blackett, known for her work on the television shows Fresh Off the Boat and New Girl.

The “Material Girl” singer has some experience in the directing field — she made her debut as a director on 2008 British dramedy Filth and Wisdom, and later directed historical romance W.E. in 2011. Madonna also has a number of upcoming projects, including an adaptation of the Sean Greer novel The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells.

“Michaela’s journey resonated with me deeply as both an artist and an activist who understands adversity,” Madonna says in an exclusive statement. “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.”

This is one of a number of projects in the works at MGM currently being helmed by female directors. Other upcoming female-led films from the studio include The Sun is Also A Star, directed by Ry Russo Young, and a remake of the ’80s teen romance Valley Girl, directed by Rachel Lee Goldenberg.

“We could not be more thrilled that Madonna will bring this remarkable story to the big screen,” says MGM president Jonathan Glickman. “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.”

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Madonna to Direct Ballerina Drama ‘Taking Flight’

Madonna will direct the MGM drama “Taking Flight,” based on the life of ballerina Michaela De Prince.

The studio has been developing “Taking Flight” since 2015, when it first bought rights to Michaela and Elaine DePrince’s memoir, “Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina.” The book follows Michaela DePrince’s life from an orphan in war-torn Sierra Leone to a world-renowned ballerina.

“Michaela’s journey resonated with me deeply as both an artist and an activist who understands adversity,” Madonna said. “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.”

Madonna will direct from a screenplay by Camilla Blackett (“New Girl”). Alloy Entertainment’s Leslie Morgenstein and Elysa Koplovitz Dutton will produce alongside Ben Pugh and Guy Oseary. MGM Production president Jonathan Glickman and Tabitha Shick 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,” Morgenstein said.

DePrince was adopted at the age of four and taken to the United States by Elaine and Charles DePrince. She 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 “Lemonade” in 2016 and is currently a soloist at the Dutch National Ballet.

Madonna made her feature directing debut on the 2008 British comedy “Filth and Wisdom.” She also helmed and co-wrote 2011’s “W.E.,” which chronicled the relationship between 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.”

Madonna also produced and wrote “I Am Because We Are,” a documentary about Malawi’s million orphans in the wake of the AIDS pandemic. She is the highest-selling female recording artist of all time, with more than 300 million albums sold worldwide.

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.”

MGM teamed with Alloy on the romantic drama “Everything, Everything,” based on Nicola Yoon’s best-selling novel. The studio also produced “Me Before You,” inspired by Jojo Moyes’ international best-seller, and “If I Stay,” based on Gayle Forman’s young adult best-seller.

MGM’s upcoming slate includes a pair of projects directed by women: Ry Russo-Young’s “The Sun Is Also a Star” and Rachel Lee Goldenberg’s “Valley Girl.” Its other films are “The Hustle,” a comedy starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson; “Fighting With My Family,” a comedy-drama with Florence Pugh, Vince Vaughn, and Dwayne Johnson; “Operation Finale,” toplined by Oscar Isaac and Ben Kingsley; and “Creed II,” starring Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan.

Alloy’s credits include the TV shows “Pretty Little Liars,” “The Vampire Diaries,” and “Gossip Girl,” as well as the films “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” and “Sex Drive.”

Madonna is represented by CAA and Maverick Management. ICM Partners and Full Circle Literary rep “Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina.


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MDNA SKIN The Reinvention Ritual Kit With Signature – buy now for $1,025

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MDNA SKIN hosts Madonna and Kim Kardashian West for a beauty conversation at YouTube Space LA – press pictures

LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 06: Kim Kardashian West and Madonna speak onstage at MDNA SKIN hosts Madonna and Kim Kardashian West for a beauty conversation at YouTube Space LA on March 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Madonna’s MDNA SKIN)
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Madonna Taught Me I Could Be A ‘Bitch’ And It’s Alright To Be A ‘Girl Gone Wild’

When Madonna released her album ‘Music’ in 2001, the one song that captured everyone’s mind was ‘What It Feels Like For A Girl’. This was way before #MeToo happened, and way before women started going out on night walks to occupy public spaces.

I was about 11 years old when I first saw Madonna on my television screen. I didn’t know her name. I didn’t quite get the lyrics. On the newly acquired cable network at home that featured English songs in two channels—I saw her dressed in black latex and leather– crawling, dancing in a box and spreading her legs—something that I later found out is called manspreading.
I liked watching the video. But I could only understand the first two sentences, when she whispered, “Express yourself, don’t repress yourself.” I didn’t know what repress meant, but back then, it sounded like a fascinating word.

Much later, I found out the song was written as an answer to her critics, who had panned her provocative image of the previous two years and her apparent “sexually explicit” work.
Over the years, through her songs, I kept learning new words. And, the words that I already knew changed its meaning, thanks to Madonna.
When Madonna released her album ‘Music’ in 2001, the one song that captured everyone’s mind was ‘What It Feels Like For A Girl’. This was way before #MeToo happened, and way before women started going out on night walks to occupy public spaces.

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Madonna Was Adorably Spied On While Filming an ’80s Music Video — By Young Kim Kardashian West!

Long before Kim Kardashian West was hanging at Oscars afterparties with Madonna, she was an awestruck kid who happened to live next door to the music icon.

The two sat down for a chat moderated by Kandee Johnson at Tuesday’s MDNA x KKW Beauty event in Los Angeles, California, where the 37-year-old reality star revealed that her history with Madonna goes way back.

“She, at a time period in her life, moved in with her manager who happened to be our next door neighbor growing up,” Kardashian West said. “So [sister Kourtney Kardashian] and I would walk — our parents were good friends with her manager — so we’d walk their dog after school. So every day we would go over and we would see Madonna. Like, we were shaking.”

Not only did the sisters occasionally catch a glimpse of the singer — Madonna shared some goodies with them.

“I remember so vividly her coming in one day in ripped jeans and a white t-shirt and these combat boots and she had dark short hair and this leather jacket and she just walked in and she was like, ‘You know what, girls? I’m over these bracelets,’ ” Kardashian West recalled. “And she took off her bracelets and gave us these black rubber bracelets.”

Madonna added, “I was so stupid, by the way. They don’t make those bracelets anymore!”

And the “Like a Prayer” singer didn’t stop there.

“She gave us all of these neon bracelets and was like, ‘Wait I’ll be right back’ and gave us this whole shoe box of all of this neon jewelry and earrings,” Kardashian West said. “Kourtney and I went to school the next day and all of our friends were like, ‘Oh my God, that’s so cool, where’d you get those?’ I’m like, ‘Madonna gave it to us.’ They were like, ‘Yeah right.’ ”

The Keeping Up with the Kardashians star also shared another story about spending the day watching Madonna film her 1989 music video for “Cherish,” which Kardashian West called her “favorite song.”

“My best friend Allison Azoff and I were at her parent’s beach house and we went outside hearing music and saw you on the beach filming. We sat there all day and watched you and the team let us and we sat there on the little stairs and we were mesmerized and we just talk about it all the time,” she told Madonna. “Like, we got to see Madonna film her ‘Cherish’ music video. It was the best memory ever.”

Kardashian West added that she recently showed the music video to her 4-year-old daughter North, telling her that the mermaids were real.

Madonna just hung out with Kardashian West and Cardi B at her annual Academy Awards afterparty on Sunday, where the trio posed for photos together peering through a ripped sheet of giant white paper.

“Eating paper with KIm….,.,,,,,💕💕 A foreshadowing of things to come,” the 59-year-old singer captioned one shot shared to Instagram.

Madonna and photographer JR shared more snaps from the unique photo opp, for which stars like Migos, Oscar winner Sam Rockwell, Timothée ChalametJennifer Lawrence and Margot Robbie also dropped by.

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Madonna Teaming Up with Kim Kardashian Actually Makes a Lot of Sense

Madonna has entered her latest era as a skin-care aficionado and beauty guru. The queen of pop released her line of luxury skin care, MDNA Skin, last September, and now she’s teaming up with an unlikely but powerful force: Kim Kardashian West.

After hanging out at Guy Oseary’s annual post-Oscar party on Sunday night, Madonna and Kardashian united for a panel on their respective beauty lines at Barneys in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Madonna, up to date on social media as ever, posted a photo of the two to her Instagram. “The next minute I was having a serious chat about skin care and beauty with @kimkardashian! Fun Day #mdnaskin #beauty #science #skincare. #epic @mdnaskin #loveyourself.”

Some of her Instagram followers, as they are wont to do, pushed back hard: “I can’t believe the woman I looked up to n idolised since 1982 has completely fallen from grace, in my eyes, by associating herself with trash nobodies like that KKW. WHY MADONNA WHY!?!? Why did u think u needed her on board??!! So so disappointing!!”

What would be surprising, though, is if Madonna didn’t align herself with a modern star who, like nearly every female star who has emerged in the last 30 years, is influenced by Madonna herself. Always a master at marketing her image and expanding her influence, Madonna’s venture into skin care is utterly of the moment; Kylie Jenner may be the Kardashian who is most closely associated with that industry, but Kim’s not a bad second. Fifteen years ago Madonna was teaming up with Britney Spears to maintain her place in the pop-culture firmament. Today it’s Kim, and for good measure Cardi B, with whom she also posed for photos at her Oscar party.

And Kardashian, no stranger to self-marketing ingenuity, recognizes a good partnership when she sees one. She posted photos of her mingling and business dealing with Madonna to her Instagram Stories and Twitter, along with what could be considered the pair’s hashtag, MDNA X KKW.

While not everyone will understand Madonna’s methods in the moment, it’s all a part of her master plan, which will involve magnetic clay masks and outliving us all.

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What It’s Like to Spend Five Minutes With Madonna

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

An exclusive encounter with the MDNA SKIN guru about freebies, dry elbows and why authenticity matters: “It’s not a vanity project.”

If I could do it all over again — if a wrinkle in time allowed me to redo Tuesday from scratch — I would have coated my elbows with lotion in the morning, and probably added another layer in the afternoon. So much lotion. At least the left one, the left elbow, because that’s the one Madonna touched as she drove home a point about what most men get wrong about skin care. 

“Men need to understand that they need to moisturize. They can’t go around being hairy beasts all the time. I tell that to my sons,” said Madonna, standing inside a private suite converted into a junket-style interview space on the second floor of Barneys New York, Beverly Hills. “You can actually get acne from having too dry skin. So, it’s important to take care of your skin. I don’t know why they don’t. They can just go around shaving and not bathing, and we have to do all the work! That’s not fair. When I touch a man’s arm…”

That’s when the 59-year-old global superstar turned activist turned skin care mogul, dressed in a Temperley London jumpsuit with Mindi Mond earrings, reached for my left arm, the one flaunting a desperately dry elbow, and ran her fingers toward the unfortunate joint. You know how this ends, but at least it came in the final moments of a 5-minute, 40-second interview because recovery may have been impossible.

“I don’t want…your elbows are a little dry, OK…,” she says, quickly pulling her hand back, the one covered with Kismet bling on each finger to spell out MDNA (and a Yeprem handpiece), the same name of her luxury skincare line, MDNA SKIN, which is what she’s here to promote just after 6 p.m. on March 6, 2018. I immediately apologized for the “error” that landed me on the “most men” list by offering the fact-based excuse that I had basically been working 24 hours straight covering Sunday night’s Oscars through Monday night print deadlines.

“Well, we’re all still a bit dehydrated from Oscar night,” explained Madonna, who had better reason than I since she hosted another iteration of her annual Oscar party at manager Guy Oseary’s Beverly Hills estate where the crowd included Kim Kardashian West and Oscar winners like Sam Rockwell. That event featured a private performance by Cardi B. and a photo booth overseen by French artist J.R., who was nominated for best documentary for his work with Agnés Varda on Faces Places and someone who probably has very nicely moisturized elbows. 

J.R.’s body parts never came up in the 90210, though, when Madonna welcomed Pret-a-Reporter inside the suite to talk exclusively about skin care because she’s a few years deep into running MDNA SKIN, a Barneys exclusive she started in partnership with Japan-based MTG. It debuted in the United States in September 2017 (after launching first in Japan in 2014) but there’s a new product, the Reinvention Cream, that has just been put on Barneys shelves and on The four-in-one retails for $75 and acts as a lotion, serum, cream and mask. MDNA SKIN includes face wash, rose mist, serum, eye mask, finishing cream, chrome clay mask, rejuvenator set and a travel kit.

You could probably use any of those on elbows, too.

Madonna has said that the line is for everybody, not just women, and she has admitted to liberal use of her products on all parts of her body including her famous derrière. But the first thing she said during these aforementioned 5 minutes and 40 seconds was, “Welcome to my padded cell,” as Pret-a-Reporter stepped into the suite which was covered in brown suede padded walls. It was quiet in there, nothing like the scene downstairs on Foundation Level where the Queen of Pop made a pit stop to greet Barneys customers, super fans and pose for a photos. (It was also nothing like the scene she would encounter later in the evening when she shared the stage with Kardashian West at YouTube Space for a joint conversation about beauty, workouts and Sunday night.) 

Back to Barneys, MDNA SKIN and how it all comes full circle. About the latter — in order to achieve the same standards for this interview, let’s start back at the beginning with question No. 1 for a full transcript of how much Madonna can say in under six minutes.

How was it down there?

“It’s fun, crazy! I was never a sales person, it’s kind of a fun, exotic moment for me.”

How did the launch event here compare to the one you had in New York?

“It’s different, it’s a younger crowd here and more enthusiastic. New Yorkers are a little bit…what’s the word? You know, New York energy and LA energy is very different anyway — equally interesting, just a different way of expressing it. New Yorkers are harder to impress.”

What have you learned from the MDNA launch that you applied to the Reinvention product?

“As we go, I’m learning that it’s really important to let people know about the authenticity of a product, where it comes from, and what makes my skin care line unique. And making sure to emphasize that it’s not a vanity project, that it’s something that I really believe in and a product line that I use. I’ve always stressed that and made that very clear to people, but you can’t stress it enough in a way.”

You have said that you always paid attention to skin care even when you were a kid. Is there something you’ve learned from MDNA that you wished you had known back then?

“In Michigan, there’s not a culture of sunbathing so I never was in the sun, I never smoked. Those are two things that I’m really glad I didn’t do. I always took good care of my skin, I don’t have any skin regrets. I may have gotten two tans in the 80’s and been forced to go to the Caribbean with my boyfriend at the time. But, you know, it’s OK.”

You have six children, famous friends and a billion fans, all of whom probably want MDNA SKIN freebies. What’s your strategy on who gets MDNA swag?

“I always share it with my friends and it’s important to share it with people who are beauty influencers, or people who can spread the message to the masses about my skin care line, so that’s important. You have to spend money to make money, that’s just good business practice. So, you have to give it away to the right people. And of course, my children steal it all the time — that’s a different kind of freebie.”

You’ve got this new product, and there are now close to 9 MDNA SKIN products. Where do you go from here?

“The thing about this line is that the skincare line, and the thermal water in this skin care line is from Italy, from Tuscany, which is in my DNA. That’s where where I got the idea of MDNA. The Reinvention Cream, which has the resurrection plant in it, comes from Africa. What’s interesting and significant about this plant is that it can go for a whole year without water, and you give it a few drops of water and it blossoms and grows and flowers. It’s one of the most resilient plants on the planet, and it’s found primarily in Africa. I have a big connection to Africa and I do a lot of work there; I spend a lot of time there. A portion of the proceeds go to Raising Malawi, my charity organization in Africa, that is primarily focused on education and building schools and hospitals. So it all comes full circle. And it will continue to expand.”

(No word on whether that expansion will (ever) include a cream specifically for one poor man’s elbows.)

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Madonna on Her Epic Oscar Parties, Plus: Her Secret to Success

In an exclusive interview, “Extra” Mario Lopez spoke to singer Madonna at the fashion-forward Barneys New York department store in Beverly Hills as she promoted the newest product in her very own skin care line!

Madonna was back at work after a celebratory weekend. Of her wildly popular Oscars party, she said, “I had so much fun. I always tell everyone the Oscar party is work, but we have to have fun while we work. I have to create a magical environment for people to come into.”

Madonna has managed to kept herself current over several decades, but what’s her secret? She revealed, “I think it’s a combination of things. I continue to be an incredibly curious person. Curiosity and being hungry for knowledge and trying new things. Taking risks is important. I’ve never been comfortable, and people have always given me a little bit of a hard time for my entire career, and in a way, that’s a good thing.”

During her illustrious career, Madonna has fought to be heard. Praising the #TIMESUP and #MeToo movements, she emphasized, “I feel like I’ve been fighting for what they’ve been fighting for — I’ve been doing that my entire career. I feel like all the hard times that I’ve received have been because I’m a female. I’m glad and happy to finally have some solidarity.”

As for why she’s now living in Lisbon, Portugal, Madonna explained, “Soccer. My son wants to be a soccer player. Of all the choices we had for soccer academies, I liked this one best. I’m a soccer mom, number one!”

As Madonna showed off MDNA Skin, she pointed out, “This is not a women’s skin care line, it’s for everybody.”

A portion of the sales from the line’s The Reinvention Cream will be going to Madonna’s nonprofit organization, Raising Malawi, which provides Malawian children with one full year of schooling. She tried out the product on Mario, pointing out, “You better use it, because dry-ass skin is not good!”

MDNA Skin can be found exclusively at Barney’s New York.

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Madonna visits MDNA SKIN Counter at Barneys New York, Beverly Hills – press pictures

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – MARCH 06: Madonna visits MDNA SKIN Counter at Barneys New York, Beverly Hills on March 6, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Madonna’s MDNA SKIN)
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Listen to Lana Del Rey’s “You Must Love Me” cover

“Andrew Lloyd Webber has been one of my primary inspirations in music,” Lana Del Rey.


Lana Del Rey has covered “you Must Love Me,” a song originally written for the musical Evita and recorded in the ’90s by Madonna. The song will feature on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Unmasked: The Platinum Collection and can be heard above.


Evita, based on the life of Argentinian leader Eva Perón, first emerged on London’s West End in the 1970s. A movie version, starring Madonna in the lead role, followed in 1996.

Unmasked is being released to coincide with musical impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 70th birthday and includes his greatest musical hits alongside newly released tracks.

In a statement to press, Lana Del Rey said: “Andrew Lloyd Webber has been one of my primary inspirations in music, so to do a cover of one of his songs is a dream. I especially love this particular song, “You Must Love Me,” because of how unique the melody is. I’ve been incredibly inspired by all of Andrew’s work from Phantom of the Opera to Evita.”

Earlier this year Lana Del Rey was the subject of a kidnapping plot. One man was arrested in close proximity to one of her concerts.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Ethan Miller/Getty.

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