Madonna Directing Biopic Based on the Ballerina From Beyonce's 'Lemonade'
By Desiree Murphy
Madonna's latest project is putting her back in the director's chair!
MGM announced on Tuesday that the 59-year-old singer is set to direct Taking Flight, the true story of an orphan-turned-professional ballerina, Michaela DePrince.
If Michaela's name sounds familiar, it's because she's the talented ballerina who graced the stage with a solo performance during the "Freedom" sequence in Beyoncé's 2016 visual album, Lemonade. But long before she worked with Bey or nabbed a coveted spot as a soloist with the Dutch National Ballet, the dancer, now 23, was struggling to survive in war-torn Sierra Leone.
“Michaela’s journey resonated with me deeply as both an artist and an activist who understands adversity,” Madonna said in a 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.”
The project is based on the Random House Children's memoir Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina, which was released in January 2014. Michaela penned the book with help from her adoptive mother, Elaine DePrince, and MGM bought the rights to it in 2015. The story follows Michaela as she recalls the abuse, starvation and the tragic death of both of her parents while growing up in Sierra Leone.
While chatting with ET in May 2016, Michaela said she hoped her story would encourage young girls living in economically-deprived areas to never lose sight of their dreams, no matter how big they may seem.
And it's a story that hits home for Madonna, as four of her six children were adopted from Africa. David Banda, 12, Mercy James, 11, and 6-year-old twins Stella and Estere, are all from Malawi.
This will mark Madonna’s third project as a director -- she previously directed and co-wrote the 2008 comedy Filth and Wisdom and 2011’s W.E.