Gwyneth Paltrow will star in an upcoming BBC/HBO biopic about Marlene Dietrich. Dietrich, known for her whiskey voice, bisexuality, relationship with Mercedes de Acosta, and addictions to alcohol and drugs seems to be a daring role for the 36-year-old Paltrow.
Dietrich’s status as a gay icon is two-fold. Her numerous affairs, and androgynous photo-ops make her a scion of the lesbian community. While her torch songs are a staple of many gay men’s music collections.
The script, written by Andrew Davies, is based off of the 1992 biography Dietrich’s daughter, Maria Riva, wrote about her mother. Davies says the film will focus on her life from The Blue Angel through the 1950s.
Director Billy Wilder described Dietrich as “a strange combination of the femme fatale, the German Hausfrau and Florence Nightingale.” The Shakespeare in Love star is more known for her love of animals than any scandalous headlines. Will Paltrow—best known for light, romantic roles—be able to recreate the smoky icon?
It is Dietrich’s history as an early German celebrity critical of the Nazi regime that appeals to Paltrow. Her late father, Bruce Paltrow, came from a family of Russian Jewish émigrés.
When Dietrich came to the United States in 1930, after her film the The Blue Angel and her song Falling in Love Again made her famous, she had an instant American following. In the late 1930s she was approached by Nazi party officials in Hollywood. They wanted her to lend her stardom to Nazi propaganda films. She refused, and became an American citizen in 1939.
The film will be shot in the United States and will be produced by Paltrow as well.