Longtime star Bette Midler is in negotiations to star as famed attorney and politician Bella Abzug in Julie Taymor’s upcoming Gloria Steinem biopic The Glorias: A Life On The Road. Julianne Moore and Alicia Vikander will portray older and younger versions of Steinem in the film. The script was adapted by Sarah Ruhl from Steinem’s memoir My Life On The Road, which details Steinem’s formative years and how they influenced her life as a celebrated writer and activist. Steinem herself is an executive producer for the film.
Midler’s possible attachment to the film was leaked during a buyer’s presentation by FilmNation at the American Film Market. Principal photography on the film is due to begin in January in Savannah, Georgia.
Bella Abzug, known as “Battlin’ Bella” during her career as a New York attorney, would become a member of the US House of Representatives for three terms from 1971 to 1977 on the strength of her activism for women’s rights. Her campaign slogan was “The woman’s place is in the House– the House of Representatives.” She was a part of the anti-war group Women Strike For Peace, and would later join Steinem in founding the National Women’s Political Caucus.
Midler is a two-time Oscar nominee for Best Female Actor in a Leading Role. Her first nomination, as Mary Rose Foster in 1979’s The Rose, came for what was only her second credited role (her first was in 1971’s The Thorn). She won her second nomination for her role as Dixie Leonard in 1991’s For The Boys. Midler won the Golden Globe Award for both films, and captured a third in 1994 for her role in Gypsy. She also received four other Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress for her roles in Divine Madness, Down and Out In Beverly Hills, Outrageous Fortune, and Bette.
Midler is perhaps an even more accomplished musician, winning the Grammy Award as a vocalist for “The Rose,” as well as winning Record of the Year in 1990 for Wind Beneath My Wings, which was featured in the film Beaches. In addition to those two wins, Midler has been nominated for 12 other Grammys, including the 2018 Best Musical Theatre Album for Hello, Dolly!
Julie Taymor, known for such evocative works as the stage version of The Lion King and a notable production of Oedipus Rex, plus the visually stunning Beatles musical Across The Universe, will direct the biopic. The multi-talented star director has her own Oscar nomination, for the song “Burn It Blue,” which she co-wrote with Elliot Goldenthal for the 2002 film Frida, which Taymor also directed.