Universal is getting into the groove for a Madonna biopic.
The studio has picked up Blond Ambition, Elyse Hollander’s script that topped the 2016 Black List, the industry ranking that tracks Hollywood’s most-liked unproduced screenplays.
Michael De Luca, who produced Fifty Shades of Grey for Universal, is attached to produce along with Brett Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment. John Zaozirny of Bellevue Productions also will produce.
The story is set in early 1980s New York as Madonna Louise Ciccone works on her first album, struggling in a business that treats women badly, while also dealing with a burgeoning love life and the first hints of fame.
Madonna moved to New York from Michigan in 1978 to pursue dance but segued to singing and writing songs. After failing at a rock band, she switched to dance and pop. After achieving some success with a few dance singles, she began work on her debut album, Madonna, which was released in 1983. The album yielded hits “Holiday,” “Borderline” and “Lucky Star,” and set the stage for her ground-breaking Like a Virgin album.
Blonde Ambition is the debut script for Hollander, who worked as an assistant to Alejandro G. Inarritu while he made Birdman, and Fresh Off the Boat co-executive producer Kourtney Kang. She is repped by WME, Bellevue, Ryan Pastorek and Robby Koch of Hansen Jacobson.
De Luca is coming off of producing this year’s Academy Awards and will produce next year’s broadcast as well. Ratner’s RatPac recently announced a partnership with Len Blavatnik’s Access Entertainment.
Universal executive vp production Erik Baiers and director of development Chloe Yellin will oversee production for the studio. Lucy Kitada will help oversee for De Luca Productions.