UPDATED WEDNESDAY AM: Bette Midler has released this statement about exiting HBO’s Phil Spector biopic because of a herniated disc that may need surgery: “I am heartbroken to be forced to leave this terrific project, working with David Mamet & Al Pacino was a dream of mine; but the pain I am in has made my participation impossible. My heartfelt thanks to everyone for their kind understanding.”
EXCLUSIVE, TUESDAY PM: Today HBO Films’ Phil Spector biopic suspended production when co-star Bette Midler did not appear on set to begin filming scenes. The movie had been shooting for six days and Midler had appeared on three of them. Sources tell me she has a herniated disc and pulled out because of “doctor’s orders.” Two hours after call writer/director David Mamet addressed the crew saying that HBO and the insurance company were looking at recasting the part. HBO has confirmed to me it will. Midler had been about to play Linda Kenney Baden, a defense attorney who represented the music producer Spector (played by Al Pacino) during his first trial for murder. Barry Levinson is executive producing the film, which revolves around the relationship between Spector and Baden.