Alessandro Nivola set for Peggy Lee biopic Fever

Alessandro Nivola set for Peggy Lee biopic Fever

Alessandro Nivola is in talks to join the cast of 'Fever'.

The 49-year-old actor looks set to star alongside Michelle Williams in the Peggy Lee biopic – that has been set up at MGM and will be directed by Todd Haynes.

Alessandro will play the role of Dave Barbour, the talented guitarist who worked with and eventually married Peggy before his death as a result of alcoholism.

The script has been penned by Doug Wright with Reese Witherspoon, Marc Platt, Pamela Koffler and Christine Vachon all producing the movie for their Killer Films production banner.

The project had previously been in development where it seemed that Reese would take on the lead role but plans were shelved when Nora Ephron – who wrote the original draft of the script – passed away in 2012.

The biopic gained momentum once again, however, when Michelle came round to the idea of playing Peggy on the big screen.

No details about what period of the singer's life the movie will cover have been given, but the involvement of Barbour suggests it could focus on the time before she recorded 'Fever' in 1958.

Alessandro recently had a starring role in 'The Many Saints of Newark' – the prequel to the TV series 'The Sopranos' – as Dickie Moltisanti but admits that he didn't realise he was playing the lead until he met the show's creator David Chase and the film's director Alan Taylor.

He explained: "I mean, the funny thing was when I auditioned for the role, I didn't know. He'd only sent me five scenes from the movie. They were the five big, most climactic scenes of the film.

"Like a mime, I had to, in the privacy of my own bedroom, carry out ghoulish murders. But I didn't have the whole script. And so I didn't even realise that it was the lead of the movie when I first started taping these scenes.

"I thought the scenes were pretty good and that the character seemed pretty interesting, but I didn't really understand the stakes of the whole thing until after I'd met David and Alan."