Director William Friedkin, best known for thrills ("The French Connection") and chills ("The Exorcist"), gets nostalgic: He'll helm a biopic about the legendary songwriting duo of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, whose tunes were recorded by everyone from Elvis ("Hound Dog") to Peggy Lee ("Is That All There Is?").
Friedkin is co-writing with chum Leiber, according to Nelson Ent. production chief Rich Finkelstein, who said the film will chronicle the songwriters' early years. Shooting is expected later this year.
Leiber and Stoller were still teen-agers when their songwriting success began in the early '50s. Many of their hits were recorded by such black groups as the Drifters ("On Broadway") and the Coasters ("Yakety-Yak").
"This will be the story of the early days of rock 'n' roll--and a couple of white, Jewish guys who brought 'black' music to white people," said Finkelstein.