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EW has confirmed Madonna and the Oscar-nominated Juno writer turned in a final draft of the script before the latter 'moved on' to a new project.

By Joey Nolfi
April 02, 2021 at 05:18 PM EDT
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Reports swirled earlier this week that Diablo Cody had shown Madonna's self-directed biopic the power of goodbye, but EW can confirm that the pair turned in a finished, final draft of the script they spent months working on throughout 2020.

A studio source at Universal, where the film is gestating, tells EW that reports of the Oscar-winning Juno screenwriter's "departure" from the movie have been exaggerated, and that Cody simply completed her work and moved on to her next project.

Cody and Madonna recently delivered a completed draft of the film to the studio, which is looking at developing the current version ahead of production. It's unclear whether additional work will be done on the version the women turned in, as big-budget productions normally go through rewrites, treatments, and polishing before shooting begins.

The Sun first reported news of Cody's alleged exit, indicating difficulties between the two reportedly leading to Cody's decision to walk away. Representatives for Cody and Madonna didn't respond to EW's requests for comment.

After months of teasing a secret project with Cody throughout 2020, Madonna announced in September that they had indeed been working on a biopic about her life that she would direct herself, and further revealed extensive plot details that the writer-director pair had included so far in the unfinished draft's first 107 pages.

Most of the film, Madonna said, would follow her "struggle as an artist trying to survive in a man's world as a woman, and really just the journey," which she described as a "happy, sad, mad, crazy, good, bad, and ugly" tale of the making of a superstar. Milestones Madonna and Cody discussed at the time included the pop icon's rise through the entertainment industry in New York City, writing "Like a Prayer," filming Evita, and her connection with Jose Gutierez Xtravaganza and Luis Xtravaganza, two members of New York City's Harlem ballroom scene that played a monumental role in the success of her 1990 smash song "Vogue."

Fans have since speculated as to who could portray Madonna in the film, with unconfirmed reports swirling that Oscar nominee Florence Pugh was considered for the part alongside Ozark's Julia Garner. 13 Reasons Why star Anne Winters made a public plea for the role late last year, donning a series of Madonna-inspired looks in an Instagram photo set.

Elsewhere, Cody is working in Atlanta to bring the CW's live-action Powerpuff Girls adaptation to life as the project's executive producer and writer. Chloe Bennet (Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Dove Cameron (Descendants), and Yana Perrault (Jagged Little Pill) are set to star in the prospective series.

A release date for the currently untitled Madonna biopic has yet to be announced.

Check out more from EW's The Awardist, featuring exclusive interviews, analysis, and our podcast diving into all the highlights from the year's best films.

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