The Beaches actress is attached to star and executive produce the project, which is based on West's 1959 autobiography Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It.
West's book chronicles her rise to stardom as she became one of the highest-grossing, and most controversial, stars of the 1930s.
Midler is producing the movie with Behind The Candelabra filmmaker Jerry Weintraub, while The Exorcist's William Friedkin will direct the project from Broadway star Harvey Fierstein's script.
Midler has just kicked off a three-week run of her one-woman show, I'll Eat You Last, at Los Angeles' Geffen Playhouse. Fresh off her successful Broadway run, Midler portrays a larger-than-life version of Hollywood superagent Sue Mengers in the production.