Michelle Williams is attached to star in the biopic “Fever” about the life of singer Peggy Lee. The film will now be directed by Todd Haynes, and MGM is in talks to acquire it, two individuals told TheWrap.
“Fever” was once a project that had Reese Witherspoon attached to star with a screenplay by the late Nora Ephron, but this latest package of the film is still in its early days.
Pop star Billie Eilish has expressed interest in being an executive producer on the film along with her mother, Maggie Baird, and record label boss Justin Lubliner. Eilish previously participated in an online 100th anniversary celebration of Lee’s contributions to music.
“Fever” began as a project under Fox 2000, but was put on hold after Ephron passed away in 2012 and after Witherspoon departed the film. Fox 2000 was then closed in Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox, and the project was shelved.
Witherspoon would still be attached as a producer on “Fever,” as would Marc Platt and Pamela Koffler and Christine Vachon via their production banner Killer Films.
If the deal goes through, MGM would release “Fever” theatrically via United Artists Releasing. This would also be the second film developed under the first-look partnership between MGM and Killer Films.
Peggy Lee, born Norma Deloris Egstrom, was an iconic jazz and pop singer who throughout her career recorded over 1,100 songs and composed 270 tracks. She is perhaps best known for her cover of the song “Fever” by Little Willie John that she recorded in 1958. She had four No. 1 hits throughout her career, including “Is That All There Is?” and “Somebody Else Is Taking My Place.”
Lee was also an Oscar-nominated actress who starred in “Pete Kelly’s Blues,” “The Jazz Singer” and even lent her voice to Disney’s animated classic “Lady and the Tramp.” Lee passed away in 2002.
Williams has worked with Haynes on the Bob Dylan biopic “I’m Not There” and “Wonderstruck.” She will next star in the next film from director Kelly Reichardt, “Showing Up.” She is represented by WME.
Haynes’ last film was “Dark Waters” in 2019, and he also completed a documentary about The Velvet Underground that will hit Apple TV+ later this year. He’s represented by CAA and attorney John Sloss.
Deadline first reported the news.