Michelle Williams to Play Peggy Lee in Biopic for Director Todd Haynes, Billie Eilish Eyeing EP Role

Michelle Williams is on board to portray another classic Hollywood icon, in the Peggy Lee biopic “Fever” for director Todd Haynes, Variety has confirmed. MGM is in talks to back the film. Marc Platt, Reese Witherspoon, and Killer Films’ Pamela Koffler and Christine Vachon are producing. Doug Wright (“Quills”) is writing the screenplay.

Billie Eilish, her mother Maggie Baird, and Justin Lubliner, CEO of Eilish’s label Darkroom, are also in early discussions about possibly coming aboard the film as executive producers. Eilish has cited Lee as an inspiration; in Dec. 2019, the singer-songwriter told Variety, “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.”

Born Norma Deloris Egstrom in 1920, Peggy Lee is today likely best known for her sultry version of the song “Fever,” which became a sensation in 1958. She began singing professionally at 16, and recorded her first number one hit, “Somebody Else Is Taking My Place,” at 22. Her career — including an Oscar-nominated performance in 1955’s “Pete Kelly’s Blues” and several roles in the 1955 Disney animated feature “Lady and the Tramp” — spanned into the 1990s. She died in 2002.

Haynes was set to direct “Fever” once before, in 2014 with Witherspoon attached to star and Fox 2000 backing the project, based on a script written by the late Nora Ephron.

Deadline first reported this story.

More to come.

Angelique Jackson contributed to this report.

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