Madonna is bringing the life of a fellow trailblazer to the big screen.
MGM announced Tuesday that the queen of pop will direct the upcoming film Taking Flight, a biographical drama based on the life of Sierra Leonean ballerina Michaela DePrince.
Before appearing in the “Hope” section of Beyoncé’s Lemonade project on HBO, DePrince rose to prominence at the center of the 2012 documentary First Position, which followed the young ballet dancer as she prepared for the Youth America Grand Prix in New York City. She was born in war-torn Sierra Leone, where her father was killed by rebels when she was 3 years old and her mother died from starvation. She was adopted by American parents, and later debuted as a professional dancer at age 17 in South Africa’s Joburg Ballet. She currently dances as a soloist at the Dutch National Ballet.
“Michaela’s journey resonated with me deeply as both an artist and an activist who understands adversity,” Madonna said of the planned film via press release. “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.”
Madonna will direct the film as her third feature-length production (following 2008’s Filth and Wisdom and 2011’s W.E.) from a script written by Fresh Off the Boat and New Girl writer Camilla Blackett. Blackett’s screenplay is adapted from DePrince’s children’s memoir Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina, coauthored by her adopted mother, Elaine.