By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist April 7, 2011 at 4:19AM
Like proposed films about Frank Sinatra, Jimi Hendrix and James Brown, a biopic about legendary singer Dusty Springfield seems to have been in development hell for years. The last we heard anything about the Springfield film was last spring when it was reported that James Mangold was eyeing the project as a potential gig and at one time had Nicole Kidman slotted for the lead role with "The Hours" writer Michael Cunningham penning the screenplay. That project still seems to be stalled, but over in the U.K. a separate film is now brewing about the crooner.
THR reveals that Fairbanks have started work on a film that will be based on Sharon Davis' book (and name of a Springfield album) "A Girl Called Dusty." Also adding fuel to their project, is Universal Music who owns the bulk of the singer's catalog and will allow her tunes in the feature, while backing singer and friend Simon Bell is on board to consult.
There's no word yet on what periods in her career the film will cover; she basically ruled the charts through the 1950s and 1960s -- her crowning achievement being the album Dusty In Memphis (which at the time, didn't sell very well despite the critical acclaim). In her later years she battled addiction and was admitted to the hospital several times after harming herself and was diagnosed with manic depression. She was also plagued by rumors throughout her career that she was gay or bisexual. But the music stands tall above all the rumors.
The hunt is on right now for a writer, director and cast for the $30 million picture and rights will start being sold at Cannes next month. It will be interesting to see if this project can finally get the Springfield story off the ground.