Bette Midler to Star as Mae West in HBO Biopic

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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  1. sharsheplola says:

    Bette is perfect for this role! i certainly hope this happens soon.

  2. Mike Thomas says:

    What do you mean by “legit resume”?

    • This Mae West / Bette Midler film bio project has been on again, off again for about two years now. Mae West is a show business icon that paved the way for many current stars of today. Sadly current media seem to have developed amnesia of West’s many accomplishments. I hope that this television film project goes ahead, but feel it’s a disservice to Mae’s memory to focus solely only on her early Broadway plays and resulting notoriety. This proposed production could well be a two or three part mini series. I have been researching my own manuscript, “In Search of Mae West” which examines her last twenty years, and hopefully will get attention from publishers as a result of renewed interest in the accomplishments achieved by this remarkable woman during a career that spanned eight decades.

  3. Ged says:

    Prefer Midler to play Betty Grable

  4. David Ohio says:

    We have Heard this Before ??

  5. Jimi LaLumia says:

    Midler was talking about Mae West projects three decades ago, and will be great.. the only one who could do a better job would be Jayne(the artist formerly known as Wayne) County..

  6. James says:

    Adore Bette but having seen Sharon Stone compere the amfAR auction in Cannes this year all I could think of was ‘somebody write Sharon Stone a script about Mae West’. How about Miss Stone for Paramount Mae West and Miss M as West in the Vegas years?

  7. Audido? says:

    Midler has grown as an actress and her style is no longer so ”over the top’ (her concert stage persona is quite different from the real Midler). I think that Midler & Co. will do this biopic with finesse and the public as well as the critics will sing it’s praises. After all, Midler is a legend for a reason and her fanbase is large and loyal.

  8. I am not sure if this is a good fit. If Ms. Midler can calm down her exaggerated over-the-top camp and recreate the oozing sexuality of Ms. West, then it might work. They will need a big name to get the project up and running, understandably, Plus you have a woman now in her sixties portraying another actress, who would have been in her thirties during the time frame they will be focused on. I hated the Ann Jillian version of Ms. West’s life because of it’s camp qualities- I hope they do not do the same.

  9. Bob Ellis says:

    Kate Winslet would be better as Mae West.

  10. karalynn says:

    I always thought Bette Midler would make a great Mae West!

    • Linda Marshall says:

      I think she’d be great, too, but she’s 68, focusing on a period in West’s career when she was in her thirties. Love ’em both, but…..

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