Madonna is stepping back behind the camera to direct a film about real-life ballerina Michaela DePrince.

Taking Flight will be based on Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina - the memoir the dancer wrote with her adoptive mother - and will centre on her childhood in war-ravaged Sierra Leone to her rise as a world-renowned ballerina.

Michaela's memoir details how she became an orphan at the age of three after her father was shot and killed by rebels and her mother passed away of starvation and fever just a week later. DePrince's brothers also died and her uncle sent her to an orphanage, where she was subsequently adopted by an American family.

She went on to attend and graduate from the American Ballet Theatre in New York and is now a soloist at the Dutch National Ballet.

"Michaela's journey resonated with me deeply as both an artist and an activist who understands adversity," Madonna, who has three adopted daughters and one son from Malawi, says. "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 honoured to bring her story to life."

The script will be adapted by Camilla Blackett.

This is the third directorial stint for the Material Girl hitmaker following 2008's comedy Filth and Wisdom and 2011's W.E. She is also working on The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, which she is co-writing and planning to direct.

Madonna, who founded nonprofit Raising Malawi in 2006, also produced and wrote the documentary I Am Because We Are, about Malawi's orphans and the AIDS crisis.