Julie Pacino and Jennifer DeLia’s Poverty Row Entertainment and producer Said Zahraoui have set Lily Rabe to play Mary Pickford in their untitled upcoming movie based on Eileen Whitfield’s biography “Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood.” Josh Fagin is writing the script and production will begin in early 2013. Pacino and DeLia are currently at Cannes to take meetings about financing and casting considerations for these five key people in Pickford’s life:
Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, her mother and manager Charlotte Hennessy, her friend and collaborator Frances Marion, and D.W. Griffith. Chaplin, Fairbanks and Griffith founded United Artists with Pickford.
“Julie and I noticed an intriguing quality in Lily when watching her perform on stage – something that felt so authentic and pitch-perfect,” DeLia said. “And like Lily, Mary Pickford’s inner-fabric was made up in big part by her experiences with live performance in the theatre. Eventually though Pickford figured out, all on her own, the difference between acting in front of a live audience versus acting in front of the camera. For the role, we knew that we wanted someone who embodied those same qualities and who has truly experienced that seamless crossover as an actress. Mary became known for those instincts and those same instincts were what drew us to Lily, knowing how difficult that range is to achieve. Meeting Lily really sealed the deal as not only did she already know a lot about Pickford but also, we were instantly able to visually place Lily in that time, right into Mary’s shoes. Lily didn’t know that we were seriously thinking of her for the part but when we talked about Pickford, her passion for the story was clear. Lily as Mary Pickford totally crystallized for us and we couldn’t be more thrilled about her agreeing to take on this role.”