Biopic of Silent Screen Legend and AMPAS Co-Founder Mary Pickford Scheduled for Early 2013 Start

     May 3, 2012


On our recent podcast, The Collision, we discussed how distracting and annoying it would be to have people Tweeting during the movie.  Admittedly, we’re spoiled with our movie-going experiences, but one hundred years ago, they barely had moving pictures at all.  One of the pioneers of the silent film era was Mary Pickford, an actress who not only became internationally famous for her work but was one of the original co-founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).  The biography “Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood” by Eileen Whitfield was recently acquired by Poverty Row Entertainment.  The production company’s Jennifer DeLia will direct the biopic with Josh Fagin set to write; Julie Pacino will produce, with a start date scheduled in early 2013 on The Untitled Pickford Film.  (For those who support Tweet Seats, just imagine how irritating it would have been to have people telegraphing during the movie!) Hit the jump for a sampling of Pickford’s work.

Here’s what DeLia and Pacino had to say about handling The Untitled Pickford Film:

untitled-pickford-film“With no intention of creating a conventional biopic, we will use the language of film to hopscotch through time, in order to tell the story of a woman so ahead of her time who was living one of the most romantic love stories of all-time. Mary Pickford’s story is one of intense emotion, astute intuition, dedicated artistry, and about the creation of Hollywood.  Pickford was floating between the worlds of vast femininity and of masculine savvy and power.  It’s synchronistic for us to be where we’re at as filmmakers as we’re exploring the world through Pickford’s eyes.”

And here’s the description of Whitfield’s biography, followed by a clip from one of Pickford’s movies (via Amazon):

mary-pickford-academy-of-motion-picture-arts-and-sciencesA silent-film star. A woman who played children, wide-eyed and gamine, skipping about in frills and long curls. That’s how most people remember Mary Pickford. In reality, Pickford was a towering figure in movie history, central to the evolution of film acting and the development of the Hollywood motion picture industry. Born in Toronto in 1892, Pickford began acting as a child. She switched from stage to film at seventeen, joining D.W. Griffith’s Biograph Company, and became almost unimaginably popular. This allowed her to dictate the terms of her contracts — power she seized and consolidated. She developed her own production company at Adolph Zukor’s Famous Players, and in 1919 she co-founded United Artists (along with Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, and her husband, Douglas Fairbanks), taking not mary-pickford-silent-filmonly creative control but also direction of the marketing and distribution of her films. Eight years in the making, this definitive biography brings Pickford to life as a complex knot of contradictions and establishes her as a groundbreaking genius, casting new light on one of the most influential and least understood artists in the history of popular culture. Eileen Whitfield recreates Pickford’s life in meticulously researched detail, from her trying days in turn-of-the-century Toronto through her reign as mistress of Pickfair, the legendary Beverly Hills estate at which she and Fairbanks entertained the world’s elite, to her sadly moving demise. Along the way, Whitfield explores the intricate psychology that tied Pickford to her mother throughout her life and analyzes Pickford’s brilliant innovations in the art of film acting, her profound influence on the movie business, and her role in the history of fame: once the best known woman in the world, she was the object of a mass adoration that prefigured today’s cult of celebrity.

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