Casting Madonna Florence Pugh, Julia Garner reportedly in the running

Madonna leads the search to cast Madonna, which reportedly includes Florence Pugh and Julia Garner; 50 Cent packs his bags; a new doc looks at surfing’s fight for legitimacy in Cuba. All in today’s Movie News Rundown.

Out Today: The Batman. Can’t wait to go see it in a packed theater tonight, and to avoid online spoilers ’til then. (And here again in our cover story with Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Colin Farrell, Jeffrey Wright, director Matt Reeves and more, in case you’ve been waiting to see the film before reading it.)

Casting Madonna: The Hollywood Reporter has updates on the search for someone to play Madonna in a biopic. The catch? It’s written and directed by Madonna. Can you imagine the stress of trying to play anyone with them sitting in the chair, telling you how to do it? THR says those still in the running include Julia Garner, Florence Pugh, Alexa Demie (Euphoria), Odessa Young (Mothering Sunday), and Emma Laird (Mayor of Kingstown.)

Other Names: Succession actor and Scary of Sixty-First writer-director-star Dasha Nekrasova, who we profiled here, said on a recent episode of her Red Scare podcast that she has also auditioned, but didn’t like her odds. And THR says musicians Beba Rexha and Sky Ferreira have been in the search. Ferreira has appeared in Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno and Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver.

Confidential to Madonna: No one can play you. Just do the Irishman thing.

50 Cent’s Power Struggle: The rapper, actor, producer, and best upside-down rapper of all time now adds another title to his LinkedIn profile: hilarious negotiator. He’s been posting images of packed bags on Instagram to send a message to Starz, which airs his Power franchise and other projects. “This is me packing my stuff, Starz. Sucks, my deal is up over here. I’m out.” He noted that Starz has renewed Hightown, whatever that is, but not the Power spinoff Force. “If I told you how much dumb shit I deal with over here,” he added.

I Found Out What Hightown Is: And it actually sounds pretty good. “Set in beautiful but bleak Cape Cod, Hightown follows one woman’s journey to sobriety, overshadowed by an unfolding murder investigation.” As a sober person who goes to Cape Cod a lot and looooves unfolding investigations, this checks a lot of my boxes.

Hamptons International Film Festival: Submissions are now open via FilmFreeway for the 30th anniversary edition of the esteemed festival, which has also announced expanded dates: October 7-16. The fest is also marking its anniversary with “HIFF: The First 30,” a new initiative commemorating memorable films it has presented in the past, and is also bringing back its year-round in-person programming, its 22nd annual screenwriters lab, and its 15th annual Summerdocs series. In the first few installments of the “First 30,” the HIFF programming team recommended several titles to watch in recognition of Black History Month, including the HIFF Audience Award winner and Academy Award nominee I Am Not Your Negro.

Legalize Surfing: The new documentary Havana Libre follows a group of Cuban surfers fighting to legitimize the sport/pastime/religion in a country where it was long banned. Margeaux Sippell has details on the film, premiering tomorrow at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and available to stream on March 22. Here’s the trailer:

Wait, Cuba Banned Surfing? Yes! I’ve been to Cuba and it’s not the romanticized Caribbean paradise of straw hats and gorgeous old cars some people imagine. First, those cars smell terrible. And lots of strange things are banned. When I was there, the internet, for example, was quite hard to come by. To check work email, we had to find an internet dealer on the street, pay him $5, and secretly log in from a park, as a lookout stood by to make sure we weren’t caught. I know this sounds like a drug deal, but I’ve been involved in far more less shady drug deals. And no, none of this is a joke.

Ed Pressman’s IP Empire: IndieWire has a thought-provoling look at Ed Pressman, producer of everything from Conan the Barbarian to Wall Street to American Psycho to Bad Lieutenant. If you’re thinking, “but those came out years ago,” that’s where it gets interesting: Pressman is leveraging all that IP in different ways, including developing four different international versions of Bad Lieutenant, in addition to the Werner Herzog version, Bad Lieutenant: Port of New Orleans, that was released in 2009 and starred Nicolas Cage. His approach to movie remakes feels less like the typical Hollywood approach and more like TV’s practice of rebranding sitcoms or reality shows for global audiences.

What’s Your Favorite Madonna Song? Tell us in the comments. I’m going with “Borderline.”

Main image: Madonna in Susan Seidelman’s 1985 film Desperately Seeking Susan.