Sophie Tucker has long been the idol of actress-singer Bette Midler — — but she will soon play MAE WEST. The bio-pic will be written by Harvey Fierstein.
• • Nellie Andreeva wrote: EXCLUSIVE: The Divine Miss M. is taking on the great Mae West. HBO Films has put in development Mae West, a movie about the true Hollywood original, with Bette Midler attached to star and executive produce. The project is the brainchild of William Friedkin ("The Exorcist"), who will direct and executive produce. Broadway heavyweight Harvey Fierstein, who recently penned the book for Tony-winning musical "Kinky Boots," is writing the script. Also executive producing is Jerry Weintraub, who executive produced HBO Films’ Emmy-winning "Behind The Candelabra."
• • Nellie Andreeva explained: Mae West, based on West’s autobiography "Goodness Had Nothing To Do With It," chronicles West’s rise into stardom when she takes New York by storm after writing and starring in her scandalous Broadway show "Sex" and battles authorities over obscenity charges. Instead of taking the road of a wide-eyed Hollywood ingenue, West forged her own path, writing and starring in her own risqué plays, including her breakthrough "Sex," which had her prosecuted and sentenced to 10 days in prison for “corrupting the morals of youth.” The notoriety fueled her career and didn’t stop her from tackling taboo subjects in her next plays, including 1928 hit "Diamond Lil," about a racy 1890s woman, which opened the doors to Hollywood for her.
• • Photo: Mae as Diamond Lil in 1928 (collection of Damon Devine).
• • Nellie Andreeva added: Mae West was a late arrival, signing her first movie deal with Paramount at 39, but went on to make a string of hits, becoming one of the highest-grossing stars of the 1930s while still finding ways to push the envelope and keeping studio censors busy. Midler’s career path resembles that of West — — she too made a name for herself onstage in New York (she made her Broadway debut in the chorus of "Fiddler On The Roof") before segueing to features in her 30s for a successful movie career, which has earned her two Oscar nominations. ...
• • Source: Article written by Nellie Andreeva for Deadline Hollywood; published on Monday, 9 December 2013.
• • On Wednesday, 10 December 1930 • •
• • Referring to a meeting in Hollywood on Wednesday, 10 December 1930, and what had been decided by a Board of Directors, Will Hays wrote to remind Adolph Zukor that he must not register the titles "Diamonds" or "Diamond Lady" for any film project with Mae West [Will Hays memo dated 18 October 1932].
• • On Friday, 10 December 1937 • •
• • Mae West failed to report for the first rehearsal of "The Chase and Sanborn Hour" set for Friday evening on 10 December 1937. The suits at NBC were getting nervous and the sponsor's reps were baffled.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Mae West has as many taboos as she has curves. She doesn't like black cats, the numbers thirteen or twenty-three, and wouldn't walk under a ladder on a bet. But her greatest fear was unconsciously revealed one day by her when she told a mutual friend, "The thing that worries me most, young fella, is the reformers likin' me. When they do, I'll know I'm slippin'!"
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I'm here to make talkies."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about Hollywood movies mentioned Mae West. Her co-star Jack La Rue originated the role of Pablo Juarez in "Diamond Lil" in 1928.
• • But Jack La Rue, the screen menace, declares that the player who says he is unmoved by screen love is not being completely honest.
• • "To play a love scene properly, the actor must put feeling into a role," La Rue confessed. "In such a case he cannot help taking his emotions into his private life. I admit that I fall in love with my leading women. They are adorable creatures. On the set, I love them. In private life, I worship them. But I know when to stop."
• • Jack La Rue added: "Realism is necessary in love scenes. One I had on the stage with Mae West, in 'Diamond Lil,' always drove the audience into hysterics, it was so real. So you know what I think of Mae West." ...
• • Source: "Romance on the Screen" in The New Movie Magazine; published in September 1935
• • By the Numbers • •
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • as Diamond Lil in 1928 • •
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