It might not have the blessing of the music legend it’s based on, but Universal’s Blond Ambition has the potential to provide a game-changing role to a young actress in Hollywood.
EW confirmed Monday that the studio was in the early stages of developing a biopic chronicling the rise of Madonna throughout the formative years of her burgeoning pop career, charting the inspiration for — and subsequent success of — her 1983 debut album, which laid the foundation for her ascension into the pop cultural stratosphere.
Before the film gets deeper and deeper into production, read on for a list of actresses we think should play the queen of pop (in alphabetical order), and make your own suggestions in the comments section below.
Frances Bean Cobain
Though she’s never acted in a major production, Cobain’s tenacity would add a palpable edge to the refreshingly bold attitude that largely punctuated Madonna’s blossoming image in the 1980s.
While Collins has a more commercial look than Madonna did at the time she broke into the mainstream, her Golden Globe-nominated acting chops — coupled with a lifelong exposure to the music industry (she’s the daughter of musician Phil Collins) — make the Rules Don’t Apply star an ideal candidate to explore the grittier aspects of Madonna’s heyday.
She’s got the disposition (and the thick eyebrows) to keep up with Madonna’s likeness, and, after taking smaller roles in bigger productions (Suicide Squad, Pan) she’s primed for a major hit of her own. Leading Blond Ambition could be the perfect way for her to transition from supporting player to Hollywood’s center stage.
Gadon wowed the U.S. specialty crowd with her starring turn in James Schamus’ brilliant Indignation opposite Logan Lerman. The film saw the 30-year-old actress tapping into her dramatic side as a troubled college student who becomes entangled in a mysterious, life-altering relationship with a peer (Lerman) at a conservative college in 1950s Ohio. Much of her performance came alive in its subtleties, but Blond Ambition could be the right opportunity for Gadon to unabashedly show off her wild side on a much bigger scale.
If there’s one thing people remember about Madonna in the 1980s, it’s her unwillingness to conform to standards. Momsen embodies the rebellious spirit that made Madonna a superstar and the musical inclination (she fronts The Pretty Reckless, a rock band formed in 2009) to match.
Monroe is light-years ahead of the supporting part she played in last year’s Independence Day: Resurgence. An essential part of the fabric of indie hits It Follows and The Guest, the 23-year-old’s fearlessness deserves to strike a pose in front of a wider audience, even if she hasn’t had the proper chance yet.
Chloë Grace Moretz
Though she found her stride at a young age, Moretz has never been defined by her status as a “child actress,” having garnered the attention of the masses in adult-oriented, R-rated flicks (Kick-Ass, Let Me In, and Carrie, to name a few) over the years. She’s since proven her range in high-profile comedies (Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising) and YA romances (If I Stay), but it’s her work playing a hardened starlet in 2014’s Clouds of Sils Maria — a role that required her to channel a young woman forced to grow wise beyond her years to combat the cutthroat world of moviemaking that was threatening to swallow her whole — that sells her ability to embody recording artist royalty like Madonna.
Known primarily for her appearance on the 23rd cycle of VH1’s America’s Next Top Model, the 25-year-old high fashion stunner’s thick eyebrows immediately drew comparisons to Madonna — enough so that Nelson was assigned to portray the singer-songwriter for a celebrity look-alike photoshoot. Needless to say, she pulled it off, and would go on to blow the other contestants out of the water during an acting challenge. Nelson has the look, the swag, and the performative talent to take her own career to the next level at the center of Blond Ambition.
If you were casting Blond Ambition solely based on physicality, few actresses seem better suited for the part than Imogen Poots. The London native has a keen ability to excel in roles where she’s fighting back against seemingly insurmountable odds, whether it’s hordes of zombies in 28 Weeks Later or murderous neo-Nazi skinheads in Green Room, and she’d be suited to challenge the patriarchy — just like Madonna did at the dawn of her career — amid the backdrop of New York City grit in Blond Ambition.
It’s been nearly a decade since Stewart first helped translate the Twilight book series into a worldwide cinematic success, even if the role of Bella Swan didn’t do much to sell the public on her skills as an actress, which had already been put to good use in movies like In the Land of Women, Into the Wild, and Panic Room in years prior. Since then, she’s worked with renowned auteurs (Olivier Assayas on Personal Shopper, Woody Allen in Café Society) and held her own against screen vets like Juliette Binoche (Clouds of Sils Maria) and Julianne Moore (Still Alice). Aside from 2012’s Snow White & the Huntsman, Stewart’s reinvention tour as a serious actress has notably failed to generate a major mainstream hit, and Blond Ambition could reposition her at the peak of the box office without sacrificing her commitment to the art of the craft in the process, given that we already know she’s capable of doing justice to a music figure (she portrayed Joan Jett in 2010’s The Runaways). Stewart’s versatility could be a perfect match for Blond Ambition, even if her overall aesthetic is a little more 1994 David Letterman interview than “Lucky Star” music video.