Bette Midler Mae West

William Friedkin, Harvey Fierstein, Jerry Weintraub to shepherd pic based on icon's autobiography

Bette Midler has teamed with director William Friedkin and scribe Harvey Fierstein to develop an HBO biopic on Mae West.

Project is based on West’s 1959¬†autobiography “Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It.” The performer who became synonymous with busty bravado, sex and sultry humor died in 1980 at age 87 after a long career on stage and screen.

Deadline Hollywood was the first to report on the biopic, which is in development but has enough strong elements that it seems a cinch for a greenlight. Friedkin assembled the project and brought it to HBO. Pic focuses on West’s early years as a stage player in Gotham when she battled censors and faced legal sanctions for her risque Rialto show “Sex.”

Friedkin is on board to direct and exec producer, with Fierstein penning the teleplay. Jerry Weintraub, who spearheaded HBO’s Liberace biopic “Behind the Candelabra,” is also exec producing with Midler.

Midler most recently has been adding to her legit resume as the star of “I’ll Eat You Last,” the story of one-time superagent Sue Mengers. Play had a Broadway run earlier this year and is in the midst of a three-week stint at the Geffen Playhouse.

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