Kristin Chenoweth is attached to star as Dusty Springfield for a Universal Pictures biopic of the soul singer.

Kristin Chenoweth is attached to star as Dusty Springfield for a Universal Pictures biopic of the soul singer.

Born in Britain as Mary O'Brien in 1939, Springfield became the finest white soul singer of her era, with such hits as "I Only Want To Be With You" and "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself," embodying the 1960s with her beehive hairdo and panda-eye black mascara.

In 1969, Springfield released what is widely considered her masterpiece, "Dusty in Memphis," an album that yielded the classic "Son of a Preacher Man" but was a commercial failure.

The singer battled substance abuse and a decline in artistic fortunes that ended only when she dueted with the Pet Shop Boys for 1990's "What Have I Done To Deserve This?" She died in 1999 at age 59 after a long battle with cancer.

The movie will focus primarily on Springfield's life in the '60s, culminating with the making of "Dusty in Memphis." Vicki Wickham, Springfield's longtime manger, will be a consultant on the project.

Chenoweth starred in Broadway's "Wicked," which earned her a best actress Tony nomination. On the feature side, she will appear in "Bewitched" and "The Pink Panther" this year and has a recurring role on NBC's "The West Wing."

The deal follows the massive success of Universal's musical biopic "Ray," starring Jamie Foxx.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print