Michelle Williams to star in Peggy Lee biopic

Four-time Academy Award nominee Michelle Williams has been cast as Peggy Lee in an upcoming biopic called Fever, according to multiple reports.

The film about the popular jazz singer has long been in the development stages, but sources at Variety, Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter have now confirmed several details.

According to those reports, Oscar-nominated Todd Haynes has been brought on to direct the project. Williams and Haynes previously worked together on the 2017 film I’m Not Here.

Fever will be produced by Reese Witherspoon, Marc Platt, Pamela Koffler and Christine Vachon. MGM has picked up the project and Doug Wright is writing the screenplay, according to Deadline. 

Reports also say that Grammy-winning pop singer Billie Eilish has expressed interest in Fever, and the filmmakers are in early discussions to potentially bring her on as an executive producer.

Eilish is known to have been inspired by Lee early in her life. “I used to listen to tons of old music — Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Etta James, Johnny Mathis and people like that — where all the songs had a perfect songwriting structure,” the singer-songwriter told Variety in 2019.

Fever is based on a screenplay by Nora Ephron, but the project was put on hold after Ephron’s death in 2012.

Born in 1920, Peggy Lee rose to fame as a big-band singer in the early ’40s. She recorded hits including Fever and Is That All There Is and wrote nearly 300 songs of her own. She was also an accomplished actor, earning an Oscar nomination for her supporting role in the 1955 film Pete Kelly’s Blues. She died in 2002.


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