Michelle Williams previously played Marilyn Monroe back in 2011, and now she’s on board to portray another entertainment icon.
Williams will play Peggy Lee in a biopic titled Fever, which Todd Haynes (Carol, Safe) is directing. Doug Wright (Quills) is penning the screenplay and MGM is in talks to back the film.
Lee is probably best known for her sultry version of the song ‘Fever’, which became a sensation after she recorded it in 1958. She began singing at 16 and recorded her first number one hit at 22. Her career, which included an Oscar-nominated performance in 1955’s Pete Kelly’s Blues and multiple roles in the 1955 Disney’s Lady And The Tramp spanned well into the 1990s. She died in 2002.
Interestingly, Haynes was set to direct Fever once before, back in 2014. At the time, Reese Witherspoon was on board to star and the script was written by the late Nora Ephron. That project fell through, and Witherspoon is on board to produce this version.
Billie Eilish, her mother Maggie Baird, and Justin Lubliner, CEO of Eilish’s Darkroom label, are also in early discussions about coming aboard as executive producers.
This will be Haynes’ second biopic of a major pop culture icon; in 2007 he directed I’m Not There, a Bob Dylan biography. Although that one was hardly a traditional biopic, as he had multiple actors portray Dylan at different times of his life.
Fever may be a little more traditional than that one, but Haynes is one of the best directors working today and can hopefully add another classic to his oeuvre.
Williams is a great choice for Lee. Not only is she on of our best contemporary actors, but she excelled at playing Monroe in My Week With Marilyn, which earned her a Golden Glbe win and Oscar and BAFTA nominations. Successfully embodying the role of somebody that uber-famous and making them a real human being should make her well suited to portray Lee.
Williams also has Venom: Let There Be Carnage coming up, and has also signed on to star in Showing Up, a film about the titular thoroughbred race horse.