Michelle Williams to play Peggy Lee in biopic 'Fever'

WASHINGTON: American actor Michelle Williams is all set to star in the upcoming biopic titled ‘Fever’ based on the life of the late entertainment icon Peggy Lee.

As per Variety, the forthcoming film is being directed by Todd Haynes and MGM is in talks to back the film. Marc Platt, Reese Witherspoon, and Killer Films’ Pamela Koffler and Christine Vachon are bankrolling the film.

This will be Williams and Haynes’ third collaboration. The filmmaker previously directed the Oscar winner in the 2007 Bob Dylan biographical film ‘I’m Not There’ and the 2017 mystery drama ‘Wonderstruck’.

Doug Wright is writing the screenplay for the biopic of the jazz singer and actor, who died at the age of 81 in January 2002. Singer Billie Eilish, her mother Maggie Baird, and Justin Lubliner, CEO of Eilish’s label Darkroom, are also in early discussions about possibly coming aboard the film as executive producers.

Born Norma Deloris Egstrom in 1920, Peggy Lee is today likely best known for her version of the song ‘Fever’, which became a sensation after she recorded it in 1958. She began singing professionally at the age of 16, and recorded her first number one hit, ‘Somebody Else Is Taking My Place’ at the age of 22.

Her career, including an Oscar-nominated performance in 1955’s ‘Pete Kelly’s Blues’ and several roles in the 1955 Disney animated feature ‘Lady and the Tramp’, spanned into the 1990s.

The upcoming biopic has been in development for years. Witherspoon was originally attached to star as Lee, but the project was put on hold after the June 2012 death of Nora Ephron, who wrote a draft of the script.

It will be Haynes’ second portrait of a pop-culture icon, after his 2007 kaleidoscopic biography of Bob Dylan titled ‘I’m Not There’, Williams played a small role in that film as a character based on Edie Sedgwick.

Haynes’ 1998 film ‘Velvet Goldmine’ is also loosely based on the careers of David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Lou Reed. Williams, meanwhile, earned an Oscar nomination for her performance as Marilyn Monroe in 2011’s ‘My Week with Marilyn’.