Bette Midler Drops Out of HBO’s Phil Spector Biopic Due to Injury

Herniated disc forces “Rose” actress to abandon role as defense attorney for troubled record producer

Last Updated: July 18, 2011 @ 4:23 PM

HBO's upcoming Phil Spector biopic has hit a major snag.

Bette Midler has been forced to drop out of the project, which is currently in production, after suffering a herniated disc.

Midler had been cast to play Linda Kenney Baden, one of the record producer's defense attorneys during his trial for the murder of actress/club hostess Lana Clarkson. Midler's part will be recast.

Also read: Friends of Phil Spector's Murder Victim Threaten Campaign Against HBO Biopic

According to HBO, Midler filmed for three of the six days that the project has been in production while suffering from the condition and on medication, before bowing out on the advice of her doctor.  

The production, which stars Al Pacino as the troubled studio wizard and "Arrested Development" actor Jeffrey Tambor as defense attorney Bruce Cutler, ran into some other trouble this week, when friends of Clarkson threatened to protest the film and organize a campaign to prevent it from winning any Emmys.

The friends of the slain actress fear that Spector's guilty verdict will be cast into doubt, after the project's screenwriter/director, David Mamet, told the media, "I definitely think there is reasonable doubt  [in Spector's case] … They should never have sent him away."

"I am heartbroken to be forced to leave this terrific project, working with David Mamet & Al Pacino was a dream of mine; but the pain I am in has made my participation impossible. My heartfelt thanks to everyone for their kind understanding," Midler said in a statement obtained by TheWrap.

The currently untitled project is slated to air next year.

News of Midler's injury and departure from the project was first reported by Deadline.