When you've reached a certain level of success, it causes one to look back at their accomplishments. This is especially true for those in the entertainment business. A legacy is something most people dream of obtaining and building over the years. Once you've earned it, it's particularly important you treat it with care. Preserving such a legacy, especially when you're a legend, is crucial.
Many stars who are considered legends are no longer with us. Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Prince are among those who left behind incredible legacies. However, now that they're gone, people seem to be telling their stories for them. The artists' say in the truth of such stories is unable to be part of the equation. What sort of effect can this have on their legacies?
It seems like many of today's living legends are taking steps to tell their own stories. Mariah Carey recently wrote her memoir, due for release on September 29. She's also compiled many unreleased tracks from her past for a compilation titled, "The Rarities," due October 2. Perhaps Madonna was inspired by this, because in no time at all she was posting about a screenplay, rumored to be about her life. She also posted a clip of her playing her old demos on a cassette player.
The rumors of a biopic were eventually confirmed by Madonna herself and Diablo Cody, with whom she's writing the screenplay. The two took to Instagram Live, where they chatted about the film, giving away some details in the process. They said the film would be two hours and it would cover her entire career. A press release eventually announced that Universal would be the studio behind the film and Madonna herself would be directing.
Of course, these details are subject to change and it would certainly be in her best interests for that to happen.
Biopics generally suffer from time restraints, with the certain key details of the subject's life to be glossed over or ignored completely. A two-hour film isn't nearly enough time to fully cover every aspect of Madonna's life and career thus far.
In the Instagram Live, Madonna contemplated the idea of doing a mini-series instead, but it now looks like that won't happen.
She was asked about her friend and high school dance teacher, Christopher Flynn, and revealed they didn't explore their relationship in the screenplay because of the time limits. Flynn seems to be an example of how this film will suffer, as he was an important part of Madonna's story. He encouraged her to go to New York City. They remained friends until his untimely death from AIDS in 1990.
Another thing biopics suffer from, in addition to overly dramatizing real-life events to the point of being silly, are inaccuracies. While many enjoyed the Queen biopic, "Bohemian Rhapsody," fans of the band were quick to point out the story didn't occur as it was portrayed. For one thing, the film shows the band breaking up because of Freddie Mercury's decision to go solo.
In reality, his solo career didn't break up the band. In fact, other members of the band already went solo before Mercury did. The film also portrays their 1985 performance at Live Aid as a reunion of sorts, with Mercury groveling at his former bandmates, begging them to do the show. This is so far from reality, it's laughable. The band was on a huge tour at that time, and Live Aid was just another stop.
The problem is, Mercury isn't around to have his say in such a film, whereas Madonna is. However, one has to wonder, can she be objective in telling her story? Will she be portrayed as a human with flaws? Or will this be a vanity project where Madonna has a one-dimensional personality, causing the film to suffer as a result?
Madonna hasn't exactly proven herself to be the best artist when it comes to the film business. Despite her handful of hit films, her choice in movies has resulted in more flops than anything else. Her reputation as a director hasn't been much better. She previously tried her hand at a biopic of sorts, the 2011 film, "W.E."
Madonna directed the film about the life story of Wallis Simpson and her relationship with King Edward VIII. However, the film suffered from spending too much time on the couple's courtship. When the two finally get married, Edward gives up the throne, they live in exile, and endure nasty rumors from the public. However, the film glosses over this period of their life.
This is the height of their story and the peak moment of conflict in the movie. Yet, it isn't shown long enough for the audience to feel the emotional weight of it.
Rumors began that a Madonna biopic was in the works in 2017, with such rumors only growing stronger following the success of "Rocketman." Madonna wasn't involved, however, and expressed her disapproval on Instagram.
It makes sense that she would want to be the one to tell her own story. However, does her history as a director give us confidence that her touch on this film will be the right one? Will she be objective? Will she gloss over key moments in her career? Or will she leave them out completely?
It seems like Madonna should take a leaf out of Mariah Carey's book. If she wrote a memoir, such a project wouldn't have time restraints or the threat of inaccuracy. Her own objectivity and self-image might come into question, but it would still be a much better project. An autobiography should be the way Madonna tells her story. Working on a biopic looks like nothing more than a waste of time.
A biopic is too risky and if it fails, that is a mark on her legacy. Such a project is supposed to be a definitive look at an artist's life and career. However, if this film flops, it will instead be another embarrassment on her record. Yet, if Madonna has shown us anything, especially in the past year, it's that she doesn't care what risk she's taking. She will take that risk, even if it's at her own detriment.
Here's hoping the film is successful and helps Madonna's legacy, rather than harm it. She has had an incredible career and journey. Her's is one of determination, searching for your place in the world, and finding it. Despite how the film turns out, she has already left an impressive mark on the music world that will never be erased.