The last time Reese Witherspoon brought the life of an iconic female singer to the screen — playing June Carter in 2005’s Walk the Line — she was rewarded with an Oscar. Sensible, then, that Witherspoon has signed on to produce and star in a biopic centered around jazz/pop singer Peggy Lee. Witherspoon is reportedly the driving force behind the Fox 2000 project: the actress secured the rights to Lee’s story, pitched the idea to her former Legally Blonde producer Marc Platt, then sought the services of writer/director Nora Ephron (Julie & Julia).
As Ephron is fan of Lee’s work, she agreed to pen the script and is attached to direct. Hit the jump for background information on Lee’s career.
Here’s a brief bio courtesy of Variety:
Lee rose to prominence during the big band era. Her first hit was “Why Don’t You Do Right?” with Benny Goodman, recorded in 1942. She recorded a series of hit albums and songs, including “Fever” and “Is That All There Is?,” during the next 30 years. She’s regarded as one of the most influential jazz vocalists of all time.
Lee also was a prolific songwriter. She penned a number of songs and voiced several characters in Disney’s 1955 animated hit “Lady in the Tramp.” In the early 1990s, Lee won a landmark case against the Mouse House for royalties from homevid sales of the pic.
Her career extended to television and the bigscreen, where her credits included the 1952 redo of “The Jazz Singer” and “Pete Kelly’s Blues.”
I myself was quick to invoke Walk the Line, but given the disparity in musical stylings of Lee and Carter, Witherspoon will not necessarily tread the same dramatic territory in the film. In case it helps you visualize Witherspoon in the role, here is a clip of Lee performing what is likely her most famous number, “Fever.”