Bette Midler April 6, 1987: Bette Midler Goes To Writer Tama Janowitz For Movie Idea

Publication: Winnipeg Free Press
Issue Date: April 6, 1987

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Writer Tama Janowitz caused a bit-of a stir In New York recently when the New York Times Magazine published her profile of Bette Midler. In Adventures in Tinseltown, Janowitz describes travelling to Hollywood to interview Midler, only to have the Divine Miss M offer her a development deal to write a script for a Midler idea.

In the article, Janowitz unabashedly agrees to think it over and maybe “take a meeting.” Writers aren’t supposed to get anywhere near that close to their subjects. Editor Edward Klein admits he was “a little bit” uncomfortable about the conflict of interest when the piece came in. But, he says, “It was all done tongue-incheek, with a sardonic quality. And since nothing came of it, I saw no problem. … My thought was, this was not a journalist on assignment, but a fiction writer (Janowitz wrote Slaves of New York) using her experience as part of her non-fiction report. I was very happy with the piece. I thought it was very amusing, a superb piece of work.”

This doesn’t qualify as a Future Film Classic because it is not yet in production, and it runs a risk of actually being good. Bette Midler has been pegged to star in a screen drama about the turbulent life of diminutive, deadly serious singer Lotte Lenya.

The film would be set in pre-war Germany and deal with her relationship with moody composer Kurt Weill. Given Midler’s recent successes in extremely mainstream comedies, this would be something of a gear change. Don’t be surprised if this one never gets; beyond the drawing board.

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