In a move that will delight fans of brassy dame Bette Midler and fans of brassy dame Mae West (who are, in fact, probably the same fans), The Divine Miss M has signed on to play the Queen of Sex sin a new HBO biopic. According to Deadline, the film, simply called Mae West, will be directed by William Friedkin and written by playwright Harvey Fierstein. Jerry Weintraub—who spearheaded HBO’s Behind The Candelabra—will executive produce alongside Friedkin and Midler.
Based on West’s autobiography, Goodness Had Nothing To Do With It, the biopic will chart her rise to stardom in the 1930s, beginning with her career in vaudeville before she moved on to write, produce, direct, and star in her own Broadway shows. A key moment will surely be her breakout, controversial 1926 play, Sex, which prompted city officials to raid the theater and sentence West to 10 days in prison for “corrupting the morals of youth.” With the help of that notoriety, West made the leap to films like She Done Him Wrong opposite Cary Grant, where she uttered the oft-quoted, “Why don't you come up sometime and see me?”
West was famous for her sexy, quippy characters, so Midler seems like an ideal fit for the role. It’s not hard to imagine Midler really selling a line like, “When I'm good, I'm very good, but when I'm bad, I'm better. ”