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Bette Midler teaming up with Al Pacino for HBO’s Phil Spector movie


Trade buzz has Bette Midler signed on to join Al Pacino and Jeffrey Tambor in David Mamet’s upcoming HBO telefilm about music producer-turned-convicted murderer Phil Spector. The as yet untitled project follows Spector’s first murder trial over the shooting of Lana Clarkson. The subject matter screams docu-drama, but with these three stars on board, could this somehow become a musical?

Bette Midler signs onto HBO's Phil Spector movie with Al Pacino

Tidbits are trickling out about HBO’s upcoming film about Phil Spector and his first trial for the murder of Lana Clarkson. With the project still in development and Tony nominee Al Pacino tapped to take the lead, Bette Midler has joined the production.

The stage diva is set to play Linda Kenney Baden, the defense attorney who took the lead for closing arguments at Spector’s 2007 trial, which resulted in a hung jury. Two years later, Spector was retried and convicted of murder in the second degree, receiving a prison sentence of 19 years to life for the shooting of Lana Clarkson.

The HBO film will focus on Spector’s relationship with Baden during the first court battle, according to THR. The film, however, picks up before Baden took the lead.

Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development) is onboard to play Bruce Cutler, the defense attorney who preceded Baden and ultimately withdrew from the case due to “a difference of opinion between Mr. Spector and me on strategy.”

No word yet on who will play Spector’s very first attorney, Robert Shapiro, or the presiding judge, Larry Paul Fidler. It’s also not clear how far into Spector’s tragic tale the movie will tread.

Academy Award nominee David Mamet (Wag the Dog) will write, direct and exec produce the telefilm. Pacino and Barry Levinson are also exec producers on the project.

Pacino and Levinson both nabbed Emmys for last year’s HBO biopic You Don’t Know Jack. Midler also teamed up with HBO to air her special Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On, but the three-time Emmy winner hasn’t strut her acting chops on TV since her failed series Bette. Tambor also has HBO ties, having been a regular player on The Larry Sanders Show.

The HBO connection is clear, but SheKnows can’t help but wonder over this musical team. Pacino, Midler and Tambor are proven actors, but they’re also proven voices; and though wordsmith Mamet is certainly not associated with musicals, he has actually penned one, A Waitress in Yellowstone. Phil Spector was also a music legend before his battle overshadowed his successes.

Al Pacino to play Phil Spector in HBO movie

A musical Spector tale seems very unlikely coming from powerhouses Mamet and Pacino, but could it be? Stay tuned as more news surfaces.

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