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We're not sure if Variety editor Peter Bart has simply found his stride as a blogger after years of loathing the medium or if his recent dispatch about the new HBO documentary Heidi Fleiss: The Would-Be Madam of Crystal simply shilled a little too hard to make it as a print story. BUT! Either way, we are more than a little intrigued by Fleiss's latest predicament, the latest in what HBO Docs boss Sheila Nevins calls the "opera" that is the former madam's life:

Here's a once-prim Beverly Hills girl, daughter of a pediatrician and school teacher, who builds a world-class brothel, goes to jail, gets hooked on crystal meth — and then moves to Pahrump, Nevada to start yet another prostitution ring, this one designed for rich women who want to hire guys to service them.

Bizarre? Definitely, and that's why Sheila Nevins bought the rights to her "life story" and why the talented team of Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato decided to make a doc about her. To be sure, half way [sic] into the project Heidi decided to end her cooperation. "She's really Jekyll and Heidi," says Bailey. "Her personality changes hour by hour."

In the end, Nevins herself had to step in to grab an interview, at which we'll have a look this week during our coverage of the Los Angeles Film Festival. It was probably the exotic-bird "fetish" that put us over the top, or maybe Fleiss's allusions to the "three years in lesbian hell" that was her imprisonment. Either way, here's hoping Bart isn't pulling yet another of his banal corporate whitewashes on us — we do tend to enjoy a good "opera," especially those spotlighting B-list crank addiction. Oh, the drama.

[Photo Credit: LAFF]