Michelle Williams To Play Peggy Lee In Biopic Fever

michelle williams

by James White |
Updated on

The idea of turning the life of singer Peggy Lee has been fascinating filmmakers for more than a decade now, with Reese Witherspoon circling the role back in 2010 and Todd Haynes attached to direct since 2014. Fast forward to this year and, while Haynes is still aboard, and Michelle Williams is the latest star to set her sights on the lead.

Lee had an iconic career, including possibly her most famous track, Fever. She got her start working with Benny Goodman’s band before moving on to recording albums and film soundtracks. She also stepped in front of the camera for movies including 1953’s The Jazz Singer and 1955’s Pete Kelly’s Blues, scoring an Oscar nomination for the latter. And she provided songs and her vocal talents to Disney's animated Lady & The Tramp, though controversially Lee later had to sue to win video sales royalties a few years down the line.

Witherspoon had been gearing up to play the part, but the film was put on hold when original director Nora Ephron died in 2012. The whole thing was shelved when Fox 2000 closed down in the wake of the Disney merger, but it has since popped back up in the hands of MGM, which is now collaborating with Killer Films' Pamela Koffler & Christine Vachon, plus Marc Platt and Witherspoon. Also potentially on to produce? Pop superstar Billie Eilish, who has cited Lee as one of the big inspirations for her music.

Assuming it goes ahead this time, Fever will mark the third Williams-Haynes collaboration following I'm Not There and Wonderstruck.

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