Grammy-winning superstar and Queen of Pop Madonna will be Taking Flight.
That’s the title of the next film she will be directing, a biopic of ballerina Michaela DePrince, the Sierra Leone-born dancer who fled her country’s civil war (where both of her parents were killed or died) to become the youngest dancer in the history of the Dance Theatre of Harlem. She is currently a soloist for the Dutch National Ballet and appeared in Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” video.
DePrince’s story was first documented in the 2011 non-fiction film First Position. DePrince, born Mabinty Bangura, was taken in by her uncle after her parents were killed. In 1999, at the age of four, she and another girl, Mia, were adopted by Elaine and Charles DePrince, a Jewish couple from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and taken to the United States. Madonna is no stranger to this subject, having adopted four African children (David Banda, 12, Mercy James, 11, and 6-year-old twins Stella and Estere) and building 10 schools in Malawi with four more underway for 2018.
The story will follow her journey from Sierra Leone to the United States to status as a world-famous ballerina. The film will be adapted by Camilla Blackett from DePrince’s own memoir “Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina.”
“Michaela’s journey resonated with me deeply as both an artist and an activist who understands adversity,” the singer said in a statement. “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’s second film, W.E., earned modest reviews and an Oscar nomination for its costumes. The singer/actress/director is also currently working on an adaptation of the novel “The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells” as well as recording music for a new album.