After an exhaustive search, one of the stars of the hit Netflix star is all set to play one of the greatest icons of pop music.
After a string of successful Hollywood biopics of musical artists, it seemed inevitable that the Queen of 80s Pop, Madonna, would get the big-screen treatment as well. The Madonna biopic has been in development for some time, and now, it may have found its lead. According to an exclusive report by Variety, an actress has been offered the role, and it’s a great choice: 28-year-old Julia Garner. The actress, best known for her roles in Ozark and Inventing Anna, is a near-dead ringer for the pop icon during her heyday in the 1980s, and has the acting chops to take on what will likely be a meaty role. Last October, Madonna posted on her Instagram account that the script for the biopic – which does not yet have a title – was nearly done. People Magazine is also reporting that the film is in active development, which means production could begin soon if indeed the lead has been cast.
Over a dozen actresses were on the potential shortlist to play Madonna, with Garner’s name being tossed around for months as the frontrunner. Variety is also reporting that Julia Garner is expected to accept the offer. Now that the New York City native has been offered the role, production could move ahead quickly, especially since Madonna herself is involved in nearly every aspect of production. The Material Girl is co-writing, producing, and directing the film for Universal Pictures, which is a surprising amount of control for what is expected to be a major studio release. Madonna’s last directorial effort, W.E., was not well received by critics: Richard Corliss of TIME gave it a zero score. On the plus side, Diablo Cody (Juno) and Erin Cressida Wilson (The Girl on the Train) are reportedly co-writing the script, and Amy Pascal (the Spider-Man movies) is producing, so there is some serious movie-making pedigree on board for support.
The film will reportedly follow Madonna during her early career, making Julia Garner an easy choice for the role. She reportedly beat out such big names as Florence Pugh (Black Widow), Alexa Demie (Euphoria), Odessa Young, as well as singers Bebe Rexha and Sky Ferreira. All the potential actresses had to endure a “grueling” audition process, which required them to show the ability to sing and dance, according to Variety. That may have given Garner an advantage: although it is not clear how well she can sing or dance, she is married to singer Mark Foster, lead vocalist of Foster the People, who likely gave her tips on singing and stage performance.
Although most recognized for playing Ruth Langmore on Netflix’s series Ozark, Julia Garner has built an impressive acting resume. That includes a critically-acclaimed performance just this year as Anna Delvey in Inventing Anna, also for the streaming service. She first turned heads with her role in Martha Marcy May Marlene in 2011, and followed that up with roles in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Waco, The Americans, and Dirty John.
Prior to Julia Garner being offered the role, Madonna issued a statement on the film and her expectations. She stated she wanted 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. 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.” A release date or start of production has not yet been announced.