Madonna will get in the director’s chair again with the forthcoming film “Taking Flight,” a drama based on the life of Sierra Leone-born ballerina Michaela DePrince.
MGM began developing the film in 2015 after acquiring the rights to Michaela and her mother Elaine DePrince’s memoir “Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina.” The book follows Michaela’s life from an orphan in war-torn Sierra Leone to her adoption in the U.S and her journey to becoming a professional dancer.
“Michaela’s journey resonated with me deeply as both an artist and an activist who understands adversity,” Madonna said in a statement first published in Variety. “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.”
The screenplay was written by Camilla Blackett and producers include Alloy Entertainment’s Leslie Morgenstein and Elysa Koplovitz Dutton along with Ben Pugh and Madonna’s longtime manager Guy Oseary.
Many know DePrince from the 2012 ballet documentary “First Position.” She was adopted at age four and taken to the United States by Elaine and Charles DePrince. She landed her first professional job at age 17 in the Joburg Ballet in South Africa. She appeared in Beyonce’s “Lemonade” in 2016 as well as various television commercials and is currently a soloist at the Dutch National Ballet.
Madonna made her feature directing debut on the 2008 British comedy “Filth and Wisdom” and directed and cowrote the 2011 biopic “W.E.,” which chronicled the relationship between King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. Madonna also produced and wrote “I Am Because We Are,” a documentary about Malawi’s million orphans in the wake of the AIDS pandemic. Her upcoming movie projects include cowriting and directing a film adaptation of Andrew Sean Greer’s novel “The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells.”