‘Feud’ Writers Michael Zam and Jaffe Cohen Developing Vivien Leigh Biopic

English actress Vivien Leigh (1913 - 1967), 1937. (Photo by Sasha/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Another actor from the Golden Age of Film will step back into the limelight. “Feud: Bette and Joan” writers Michael Zam and Jaffe Cohen are currently developing a film biopic about the tumultuous life of Vivien Leigh (“Ship of Fools”). The theater and film star won two Academy Awards for her roles as Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With the Wind” and Blanch DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire.” According to Variety, the film will be produced and financed by Tim MacReady and Mira Vucevic of MGR Films alongside David A. Stern.

The film will be an adaptation of Hugo Vickers’ “Vivien Leigh: A Biography,” focusing on her life and greatest love, second husband Laurence Olivier. The actor, known as one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood, was also incredibly intelligent; The Guardian recently revealed Leigh’s love for literature and her inclusion in the highest literary and creative circles in 20th century London.

A collection of personal love letters between her and Olivier were released in 2015, showing the pair’s passionate, all-consuming love for one another. This love would potentially add a dramatic, intense touch to the upcoming biopic, along with Leigh’s health issues. The actor suffered from bipolar disorder and recurring bouts with tuberculosis, which eventually killed her at age 53 in 1967, before modern medical treatments would have helped either affliction. Despite her illnesses, she worked whenever she could, winning the aforementioned Oscars and a Tony for her leading role in “Tovarich.”

Zam and Cohen are best recognized for their recent hit “FEUD: Bette and Joan,” which portrays two other Golden Age actors, Bette Davis (“All About Eve”) and Joan Crawford (“Mildred Pierce”) during their time on the set of “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane.” The pair had a famous feud spanning their entire film careers, making their only film together fraught and nearly untenable for everyone involved.  The series, which stars Susan Sarandon (“Ray Donovan”) and Jessica Lange (“American Horror Story”), was nominated for 18 Primetime Emmys this year, taking home two for best makeup and hairstyling.

No casting details or possible premiere date have been released.

Who would you pick to play Leigh in the upcoming biopic? Let us know in the comments below!

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Written by Selina Mixner

Selina is a queer, half-Filipina fangirl who loves TV, film and corgis a little too much. She graduated with a Bachelor's in Literature and Psychology from UC Santa Cruz. Her rules for writing are simple: is it tattoo-worthy? If not, try again.


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