Why Madonna is replacing her bio movie with ‘Celebration Tour’

At the age of 64, Madonna has never turned down a dare.

And the recent video announcement of her “Celebration Tour” is a filthy wink to her 1991 documentary “Truth or Dare.” As Diplo, Eric André and Jack Black and others look on, Amy Schumer dares Madonna to go on a world tour and “play your greatest motherf—ing hits.”

“So the answer is: F–k yeah!” the singer says.

But it means that her long-planned biopic, reportedly starring “Ozark” acress Julia Garner,is no longer moving ahead at Universal Pictures.

“Madonna will someday make a film about her life,” a friend of the singer’s confirmed to Page Six. “But this tour is the creative and professional focus for M right now.”

The “Vogue” icon was going to direct the film herself, but an insider revealed there was a fallout with Universal over the script. “Basically, they don’t like it,” the insider said of he studio. “They want it to be pop and light. Madonna wants something much grittier, and it’s come to a stalemate.

“She’d rather go to another studio than change the script. She still wants to make the film, but will now look at it again after the tour,” said the insider. “She’s keeping the same writers, but is aware that she might have to recast if the actors aren’t available.”

During an Instagram Live session in September 2020, Madonna revealed the film would cover “my struggle as an artist trying to survive in a man’s world as a woman.”

She first teamed up with Oscar winner Diablo Cody, of “Juno” fame, before replacing her with Erin Wilson, who wrote the screenplays for “Secretary” and “The Girl on the Train.”

Last June, it was reported that “Ozark” star Garner had won the role of the pop icon — following a grueling, 16-week-long singing and dancing boot camp said to be attended by Florence Pugh, Alexa Demie, Odessa Young and Bebe Rexha.

This delay won’t slow down the trajectory of Garner, who recently won both a Golden Globe and an Emmy for her work on “Ozark”. She’s now signed on to film the thriller “The Royal Hotel,” which follows two young women backpacking in Australia, as well the thriller “Apartment 7A.”

Reps for Universal, Madonna, Cody and Garner declined to comment.

Kevin Stea, 53, is one of a select few who know what it takes to work with Madonna. He described the singer as someone who is “always trying to push boundaries.”

The choreographer, who danced with Madonna on her “Blond Ambition” tour, has not seen her in 20 years after joining two of his fellow tour dancers, Gabriel Trupin and Oliver Crumes, in a lawsuit over their portrayal in “Truth or Dare.” The claimed the movie didn’t pay them according to their contracts and featured some behind-the-scenes footage they were told would not be used. The suit settled in September 1994.

“There was a time when, every time I heard her songs and saw her image, it reminded me of the difficulties that we had,” Stea admitted. “But I specifically went and meditated on it and switched it around for myself.

“Now when I see her … I see the absolutely positive impact that the tour has had on a whole generation of the queer community, and I rest easy with that.

“But life is quite complicated. She’s made some mistakes. She’s not perfect, she has hurt people, not everything she does is correct — and that’s a state of being human. I’m the same. The more I age and time passes, I realize that her unwavering stand for her beliefs. What she was trying to accomplish has really changed the world and produced a space. And you can’t create that space by being nice.

He told how he went to see the “Madame X” tour with fellow “Blond Ambition” dancers Carlton Wilborn and Luis Camacho, revealing: “She knew we were there and she was looking for us in the audience apparently, but we didn’t get to see each other afterwards, though we had hoped to.”

Madonna’s 35-city global tour will kick off in Vancouver on July 15 and the dates have been spaced out to two or three nights per city to make sure the star can stay as healthy as possible, sources said. She had canceled some dates on her 2020 “Madame X” tour due to injury, before having to call the whole thing off because of COVID.

Still, the perennially youthful pop star may be starting to feel her age. In November 2021, on her “Madame X Presents: Madame Xtra Q&A special for Paramount+”, Madonna admitted to having hip replacement surgery.

“Let me be really honest with you — I used to be, like, a fitness/workout maniac. “You probably know that right? … During my [2019 Madame X] tour — I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but I’m limping a lot — I was in more pain than I’ve ever been in in my life. I’m a bionic woman. I had hip replacement surgery,” she said.

“So how do I stay in shape? It’s all in your head … It’s called will, it’s called ‘no one’s gonna stop me.’ And how I stay in shape is, no one’s gonna stop me. And how I stay in shape is, I don’t believe in limitations.”

“Any choreographer and director who are up to par will have the dancers doing most of the work around her and still make her look as though she’s doing everything,” Stea said “Sometimes touring can be an energizing, wonderful thing, [but] it can also really rip you down physically. Madonna is smart enough to know when to create breaks for herself.”

Madonna’s 26-year-old daughter Lourdes — who released her debut single “Lock&Key” last August — is set to help her mom find dancers, the insider said.

The singer’s other children include Rocco, 22, who’s a rising star in the visual arts world She also adopted son David, 17, daughter Mercy, 16, and 10-year-old twins Estere and Stella.

Lourdes confided to her mother’s best friend, Debi Mazar, in Interview magazine that Madonna “is such a control freak, and she has controlled me my whole life.” 

This month, Madonna admitted to Vanity Fair: “Growing up with a mother like me is a challenge. It has been the most difficult, the hardest battle. Today, I am still struggling to understand how to b
e a mother and do my job.”

Madonna, whose own mother died at the age of 30 from cancer when she was just five, says that “much of my happiness” comes from her children, adding that she loves how “each of them has discovered their own creativity and that it comes from an authentic place.

“I have never encouraged my daughter Lola to make music or my son Rocco to paint. But I’ve always exposed them to art, to music, and I’m happy that they’ve found ways to express themselves. I have respect and admiration for them and for what they do.”

She is currently dating 23-year-old male model Andrew Darnell, as reported by Page Six in September, but friends said it’s casual and nothing serious.

Stea, meanwhile, hopes to see the tour, saying: “I don’t want anyone thinking I don’t love her, don’t care, or I hate her — it’s so far from the truth, I love her so much.

“She’s built a mountain to stand on and I hope she gets to enjoy that view and really embrace the impact she’s had in music and culture non stop for forty years.”

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