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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bette Midler Goes West on HBO

The big buzz you've been waiting for, people! Surely you've heard by now that none other than the Divine Miss M herself will be assaying (and sashaying in) the part of droll diva and camp icon, Mae West. The HBO film (to be released theatrically outside the U.S.) is to be directed by William ("The Boys in the Band," "Cruising" and some little opus called "The Exorcist") Friedkin. And who is writing this biopic? None other than Harvey Fierstein ("Kinky Boots," "Torch Song Trilogy"), based on Miss West's autobiography, Goodness Had Nothing to Do with It, that's who.

Bette Midler has been having herself a grand time lately, coming hot off her Broadway hit, I'll Eat You Last (in which she assayed but pretty much stayed on her assets as famed Hollywood talent agent Sue Mengers) and now swirling into the role of Mae West.

I guess HBO had the urge to outdo themselves on the gay-o-meter after the success of their Liberace biopic. I first read the Bette buzz today via Playbill on-line. The next thing I knew, it was all over the Internet. Variety said it was actually Deadline Hollywood that first broke the news and wrote, "The performer who became synonymous with busty bravado, sex and sultry humor died in 1980 at age 87 after a long career on stage and screen." Doesn't that sound divinely perfect for Miss Midler, who just turned 71? "Pic focuses on West’s early years as a stage player in Gotham when she battled censors and faced legal sanctions for her risque Rialto show 'Sex,'" Variety informs. Well, Miss M looks good and can play younger, I suppose.

So, Bette in the Mae West biopic, Liza in the Sunset Boulevard movie! Sounds like things are shaping up for our cherished divas! Star vehicles at last, dahlings, for female stars not named Meryl!

"[Mae] West eventually moved from stage to screen and rose to super stardom in the 1930s when she became one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood at the time," Huffington Post touted.

Buddy Beaverhausen thinks Bette will be an ideal Mae West. In fact, she's notoriously gone West in her live stage shows from the start. The hair fluffing, her raunchy lines, her campy delivery, her knowing overtures to her gay fans, her petite but curvaceous figure. If there was no Mae, there might never be the Bette we know and love.

Mae West said, “I wrote the story myself. It's about a girl who lost her reputation and never missed it.” She was also quoted as quipping, "Good sex is like good bridge. If you don't have a good partner, you'd better have a good hand."

Sounds like HBO's holding a firm hand on this one.


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