William Friedkin. Mae West. Bette Midler. I’m not certain that HBO could have constructed a better grouping if they had tried. With Friedkin back in a big way since his darker-than-dark Killer Joe, he now plans to make the move to directing an HBO film about iconic star Mae West, starring the only woman capable of filling her bustier: Bette Midler.
The announcement comes via The Playlist, and what a welcome one it is too. Mae West will be based on the actress’s memoirs Goodness Had Nothing To Do With It, and will mainly concern her rise to Hollywood stardom.
For those unfamiliar with Mae West, she was an iconic Hollywood siren, writer and comedienne known for her risque jokes and pushing of sexual boundaries. She began her career starring in some fairly explicit Broadway plays (one of which was shut down and West arrested for public indecency) before she made the move to Hollywood. She then appeared in a number of self-penned comedies alongside the likes of W.C. Fields and Cary Grant until her career took a marked decline with the institution of the censoring Production Code (for which West’s films were partially responsible).
There’s every hope that the Divine Miss M and Friedkin combined will do a good job with Mae West; I certainly cannot think of an actress better qualified to play the lead. Plus, Harvey Fierstein is responsible for the script, which only adds fuel to the fire. It seems as if HBO is really giving the big studios a run for their money here.
We will, of course, keep an eye on updates for the Mae West biopic as more details become available. For now though, let us know what you think about the project so far.