"No one's going to tell my story, but me," the icon said, thank you very much.

There's no greater power than the power of Madonna bidding goodbye to the men who've tried to control her narrative.

Still hammering away at the long-gestating big-screen adaptation of her life story, the pop icon has revealed why she felt so strongly about taking the reins on the planned movie.

"I have a very long script that is really hard for me to make shorter. I've been whittling away at it, but it's like hacking off my limbs," Madonna told Variety. "I've had an extraordinary life, I must make an extraordinary film. It was also a preemptive strike because a lot of people were trying to make movies about me. Mostly misogynistic men. So I put my foot in the door and said, 'No one's going to tell my story, but me.'"

Madonna speaks onstage during the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards at Barclays Center on September 12, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
Madonna at the 2021 MTV VMAs
| Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images

As for who will play Madonna in the film, an official announcement has yet to be made, though rumors regarding Ozark actress Julia Garner's involvement swirled after Madonna followed her on Instagram. Madonna's representatives did not return a request for more information on casting.

EW also exclusively reported that Uncut Gems star Julia Fox met with Madonna to discuss potentially playing her longtime friend and actress Debi Mazar — who first met the performer in an elevator at New York City's Danceteria nightclub in the '80s — in the project.

Madonna has been working on the film for years, initially with Oscar-winning Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody assisting her with the script. Universal Pictures and producer Amy Pascal jumped aboard (with Madonna in the director's chair) in September 2020. EW confirmed that Cody finished a full draft of the screenplay before moving on to other projects, with Erin Wilson stepping in to continue working on it with the singer-songwriter.

According to Madonna over the years, most of the film will detail her "struggle as an artist trying to survive in a man's world as a woman," which she called a "happy, sad, mad, crazy, good, bad, and ugly" story of her ascension to prominence. In several social media posts throughout 2020, Madonna and Cody said that they worked to include her experiences as a rising artist in New York City, who'd later write "Like a Prayer," star in Evita, and form a bond with Jose Gutierez Xtravaganza and Luis Xtravaganza of the Harlem ballroom scene, which inspired and contributed to the success of her 1990 smash "Vogue."

Hear more on all of today's must-see picks on EW's What to Watch podcast, hosted by Gerrad Hall.

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