Bette Midler to Play Mae West in HBO Films Biopic; Harvey Fierstein to Pen Script!
Bette Midler will be portraying another Hollywood icon after her turn as Sue Mengers in I'LL EAT YOU LAST on Broadway and in LA. According to Deadline, Midler will star in HBO Films' upcoming Mae West biopic, directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist) from a script by Harvey Fierstein (Kinky Boots).
Friedkin, Fierstein and Jerry Weintraub (Behind the Candelabra) will executive produce the project.
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Mae West will be based on the actress' autobiography Goodness Had Nothing To Do With It, which follows West's rise to fame after writing and starring in her controversial Broadway show SEX. West was sentenced to 10 days in prison for "corrupting the morals of youth" with the play. After SEX, West wrote DIAMOND LIL in 1928, which allowed her to break into the Hollywood world.
West's film credits include Night After Night, She Done Him No Wrong, I'm No Angel, Belle of the Nineties, Goin' to Town, Klondike Annie, Go West Young Man, Every Day's a Holiday, My Little Chickadee, The Heat's On, Myra Breckinridge and Sextette, among others.
Midler, who is currently starring in a post-Broadway engagement of I'LL EAT YOU LAST at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, began her legendary career as an entertainer in 1965, in New York, where she developed the trademark act that would make her one of the most renowned talents of her generation. Her debut album, 1972's The Divine Miss M set her on the path that has led her to earn Grammys, Emmys, Golden Globes and Academy Award nominations in a career that has spanned over 40 years. She has toured the world, sold millions of albums, published two books and appeared in over two dozen films, including The Rose, Beaches, Ruthless People, Hocus Pocus, First Wives Club and For The Boys.
In addition to her work on stage and in films, Bette has made her mark in television, with the Emmy Award-winning CBS special of Ol Red Hair Is Back, and several HBO concerts, Live at Last and Art or Bust, and the Emmy Award-winning Diva Las Vegas. In 1992 she starred in the CBS television adaptation of the musical Gypsy, for which she won both a Golden Globe and the national board of review award for her performance.
In January 2009 she concluded her sold-out Vegas spectacular The Showgirl Must Go On, at Caesar's Palace, with over 200 performances. In 1994, she returned to New York after nearly 20 years in Los Angeles, and started the New York Restoration Project, a non-profit organization devoted to bringing abandoned and neglected parks, gardens, and open spaces in all five boroughs back to life. NYRP includes the beautiful New Leaf Cafe in Fort Tryon Park as part of its success, and is committed to helping restore parks and gardens devastated by Hurricane Sandy.
Fierstein, actor and book writer for the Tony-winning musical KINKY BOOTS, has also written Broadway's Torch Song Trilogy, La Cage aux Folles, Safe Sex, Legs Diamond, Hairspray, A Catered Affair and Newsies. He won the 2003 and 1983 Tony awards for Best Actor for Hairspray and Torch Song Trilogy, respectively, as well as the 1984 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for La Cage aux Folles and the 1983 Tony for Best Play for Torch Song Trilogy.