Mary Pickford Movie

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buskeat

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Mary Pickford Movie

PostThu May 03, 2012 1:53 pm

Whether or not this ever actually gets produced, congratulations to Eileen Whitfield for selling movie rights!

http://www.deadline.com/2012/05/julie-pacino-to-produce-mary-pickford-biopic/

Julie Pacino and Jennifer DeLia’s Poverty Row Entertainment and producer Said Zahraoui have acquired rights to Eileen Whitfield’s Mary Pickford biography Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood. The producers are developing a feature (untitled for the moment) about Pickford’s life with a script from Josh Fagin. DeLia will direct. An early 2013 production start is being eyed. Silent star Pickford was known as “America’s Sweetheart” and was one of the 36 co-founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In a legendary move in 1919, Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin and DW Griffith together created United Artists. Recently, a battle has erupted over the right to use Pickford’s name, work and trademark between the Mary Pickford Institute of Film Education and the Mary Pickford Foundation.
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BankofAmericasSweetheart

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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostThu May 03, 2012 8:33 pm

So who is going to play Pickford? Kate Winslet would have been great choice..... wait for it.... ten years ago.

Please lets not get Anne Hathaway.
"It would have been more logical if silent pictures had grown out of the talkies instead of the other way around." - MP
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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostThu May 03, 2012 9:26 pm

Doesn't Eileen Whitfield have a Buster Keaton bio in the works? Wonder if it will ever see the light of day, hope so.
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Christopher Jacobs

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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostFri May 04, 2012 1:24 am

BankofAmericasSweetheart wrote:So who is going to play Pickford? Kate Winslet would have been great choice..... wait for it.... ten years ago.

Please lets not get Anne Hathaway.

Well, Pickford played kids and teens well into her 30s, so why shouldn't Kate? I'd certainly send her agent a script if I had money in the film. Who else? Keira Knightly maybe? Kirstin Dunst? Chloe Moretz could play her as a child. But who would play Fairbanks? (Or Chaplin, --well, Robert Downey, Jr, of course-- or Griffith? --Robert Downey Jr in different makeup?)
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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostFri May 04, 2012 7:14 am

Having Downey come back and reprise his Chaplin role would be fantastic.

However much of a Pickford fan I am, however, I can't help wondering why anyone would imagine a film about her life would have any appeal to contemporary audiences at all. I'm pretty sure the vast majority of movie-goers haven't the slightest idea who she was, and wouldn't care if they DID know.

Oh, but that's just me being negative. Maybe it'll be in 3D, feature lots of potty jokes and have giant morphing toys chasing after Mary on the set of "Tess of the Storm Country." At the end, she'll either run off with Johnny Depp, or get eaten by Zombies.
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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostFri May 04, 2012 7:21 am

No brainer: Johnny Depp as Pickford.
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Rollo Treadway

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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostFri May 04, 2012 7:45 am

Has anyone ever seen a really worthwhile biopic of a silent era figure?

Chaplin and Man of a Thousand Faces both feature magnificent lead performances by Downey and Cagney, unfortunately saddled with mediocre, uninspiring script and direction. Hollywood Cavalcade features Don Ameche as a filmmaker obviously based on Mack Sennett. That film's real strength lies in the meticulously detailed re-creation of the filmmaking procedures, but again the script is cringe-inducingly schmaltzy.

Haven't had a chance to see The Buster Keaton Story yet — but by all accounts, I should rue the day.
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buskeat

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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostFri May 04, 2012 10:25 am

First off, I'd be stunned if this film - if it ever gets made - would have a budget of more than $5-$10 million if that, plus they're eyeing an early 2013 production start when they've just acquired the rights and don't even have a script finished, so I'm pretty pessimistic about this actually getting made.

Poverty Row Entertainment (http://www.povertyrowentertainment.com) is a New York-based company that's only three years old that has produced one feature, one short film and a music video. So I wouldn't bank on any established stars who would want to work for more than scale appearing in this picture. Which actually might be a good thing.
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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostFri May 04, 2012 11:05 am

Jean Dujardin would be a natural for Douglas Fairbanks.

Too bad the film company can't afford him!
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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostFri May 04, 2012 1:19 pm

LongRider wrote:Jean Dujardin would be a natural for Douglas Fairbanks.

Too bad the film company can't afford him!


He would have to work REALLY hard on his American accent, I'm afraid.
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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostFri May 04, 2012 1:30 pm

Doug Sulpy wrote:Oh, but that's just me being negative. Maybe it'll be in 3D, feature lots of potty jokes and have giant morphing toys chasing after Mary on the set of "Tess of the Storm Country." At the end, she'll either run off with Johnny Depp, or get eaten by Zombies.


Isn't Lindsay Lohan out of rehab and looking for a project right now? :shock:

Even in a post-'The Artist' climate, I think this would have a very hard time making it to the screen (or at least, making it to the screen in a form that wouldn't infuriate most of us here). Perhaps a cable network would fund a relatively high budget TV production, in the same style as 'Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows' and the dramatisation of Shirley Temple's autobiography from a few years back (I found both absolutely turgid), but a big cinema release just doesn't seem realistic to me.

(And, as a matter of fact, Johnny Depp's performance in 'Benny and Joon' makes me think that he's one modern actor who could do a great job in a silent era biopic).
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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostFri May 04, 2012 1:37 pm

While I doubt that the film, if made, would do Mary justice, one never knows. It was the film "Chaplin" which introduced me to Charlie Chaplin and silent movies and I'm very glad it did! :mrgreen:
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BankofAmericasSweetheart

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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostFri May 04, 2012 2:08 pm

I could see the appeal for the masses to see a film like this. It's not going to be a blockbuster movie but perhaps run along the lines of success as "My Week With Marilyn" did just under the radar but critical acclaim.

It's another story that can use the familiar "A Star is Born" storyline in particular with the earlier part of her career with Owen Moore.

When they did the Chaplin biopic, the performances were great but the way the story was told wasn't as accurate as I preferred it to be. It also enraged me that the "character of Mary Pickford" had no redeeming values and played as a one dimensional bitch that served only to get in Chaplin's way.

Actually a non-conventional take on a Pickford story would be to approach her as unlikeable in priviate life while creating an image of charm and like-ability for her film persona.

Casting choices for unavoidable characters would include:

Daniel Craig - D.W. Griffith(looks like him too)
Elizabeth Olsen- Mary Pickford(young actress and young sister of the Olsen twins is apparently pretty decent actress and surely doesn't cost that much)
Zac Efron - Owen Moore(I'm sure he's desperate to look for a good project(j/k) and it would create a market for youth to be curious enough to watch and plus the Owen Moore role shouldn't be that big and he just has to pretend to be drunk and abusive and it could be his breakout role)
Robert Downey Jr. reprising his role for Chaplin(He would have to look like he did 20 years ago though...)

IF the movie is a success they can turn it into a biopic saga and divide it up into 5 parts, so part 1 would be her childhood years which takes around 200 pages anyway in the Whitfield book, then part 2 and so on.
"It would have been more logical if silent pictures had grown out of the talkies instead of the other way around." - MP
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Gene Zonarich

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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostFri May 04, 2012 6:00 pm

BankofAmericasSweetheart wrote: Actually a non-conventional take on a Pickford story would be to approach her as unlikeable in priviate life while creating an image of charm and like-ability for her film persona.

IF the movie is a success they can turn it into a biopic saga and divide it up into 5 parts, so part 1 would be her childhood years which takes around 200 pages anyway in the Whitfield book, then part 2 and so on.


Agreed. But even if it was a single feature, I would prefer that it spends sufficient time on her childhood -- her career as a child actress from roughly 1900-1909, essentially taking care of her widowed (and actually abandoned is a better description) mother and two young siblings. It would go a long way in establishing why she was as driven to succeed throughout her life as she was, and what it cost her personally (or even professionally) in the long run. You've got to have the audience understand the person before you can portray them as being likeable or unlikeable as the case may be.

Pickford wasn't an overly complex person, it seems to me. but she certainly isn't a one-dimensional caricature of either a "little girl" or a "bitch." She was uneducated, but intelligent. She made choices based upon instincts (and her mother), and many, especially those involving men, were awful, but overall her career choices shouldn't be faulted to the extent they are. How many big stars of the early 1910s were as still popular (or even still working) in 1929 or 1933?
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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostFri May 04, 2012 6:09 pm

Doug Sulpy wrote:...However much of a Pickford fan I am, however, I can't help wondering why anyone would imagine a film about her life would have any appeal to contemporary audiences at all. I'm pretty sure the vast majority of movie-goers haven't the slightest idea who she was, and wouldn't care if they DID know....


Actually, Pickford has a fairly large recognition factor, especially among young Europeans. About 5 years ago, songstress Katie Melua released her Pictures album, which included the single Mary Pickford (used to Eat Roses). The album went #1 in 13 European countries and the video for the single was a pastiche of Pickford, Fairbanks, Chaplin and Griffith clips. Pickford got a lot of exposure as a result of the album, single and video.
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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostFri May 04, 2012 7:27 pm

Let's face it. Pictures these days are aimed at 12 year olds with a brain that would fit into the beak of a canary. It is hardly likely that members of this audience would remember an actor who has not appeared in a picture in the last 18 months let alone 80 years.

I had a friend who used to do interviews with "Movie Stars". I asked him at one time why he didn't do interviews with some of the older stars - among them those of the silents who at that time were still living. He replied "What would be the use? - nobody remembers them."

Whilst I applaud that someone would wish to choose Ms. Pickford as the subject of a picture, I really doubt that it would have very much appeal outside of those of us who actually knew who she was.
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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostFri May 04, 2012 8:13 pm

Donald Binks wrote: Whilst I applaud that someone would wish to choose Ms. Pickford as the subject of a picture, I really doubt that it would have very much appeal outside of those of us who actually knew who she was.


As alluded to above, it's all about the casting and the "vision" of the director. With the right star power attached and the right appraoch (+ a mega bucks marketing plan), it could get people into the seats, for at least the first weekend.
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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostSat May 05, 2012 5:21 am

The problem with doing a movie about Pickford is that it's difficult to make a film about someone who lived such a very long life. Personally I think Mabel Normand would make a more interesting subject. A good film about Mary would begin with her life as a child actress and end with the death of Douglas Fairbanks. This would encompass her stage and film careers, all her marriages, and United Artists. And put me down as another who wants to see Kate Winslet get the part. Although with just about any modern actress they'd have to stay away from the nickname "Little Mary" wouldn't they? Are there any working actresses over the age of 12 even close to 5 feet tall?
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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostSat May 05, 2012 6:12 am

WaverBoy wrote:
LongRider wrote:Jean Dujardin would be a natural for Douglas Fairbanks.

Too bad the film company can't afford him!


He would have to work REALLY hard on his American accent, I'm afraid.


Not if they made it silent! :)
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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostSat May 05, 2012 7:08 am

I could see this project evolving into a Masterpiece (Theatre) mini-series. It would seem to be suitable subject matter for them, given past series. As for the actress, I'd like to see Scarlet Johansson as Mary. At least she's younger and shorter than Winslet.
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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostSat May 05, 2012 12:57 pm

Silent film fan wrote: And put me down as another who wants to see Kate Winslet get the part. Although with just about any modern actress they'd have to stay away from the nickname "Little Mary" wouldn't they? Are there any working actresses over the age of 12 even close to 5 feet tall?

Well, Kate WInslet is about 5' 7" but both Chloe Grace Moretz and Scarlett Johansson are about 5' 4" so a bit closer to 5 feet. Chloe Moretz, currently age 15, has both the look and the dramatic screen presence to be able to play Mary Pickford as a much younger child, as well as into her 20s or 30s, maybe even 40s or older with proper makeup (just as Mary Pickford would play a wide range of ages while she was still a teenager).
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Gene Zonarich

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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostSat May 05, 2012 7:08 pm

T0m M wrote:I could see this project evolving into a Masterpiece (Theatre) mini-series. It would seem to be suitable subject matter for them, given past series. As for the actress, I'd like to see Scarlet Johansson as Mary. At least she's younger and shorter than Winslet.

Here's one who seems to fit all the above-mentioned requirements, and more:

Image

She's got the right face, the right height, 5' 1", the acting credentials -- 2007 Oscar nomination for "Juno," and she's CANADIAN to boot (or is that bout?)!!! Ellen Page.
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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostSat May 05, 2012 8:41 pm

The problem would be finding someone who could pull off the act of playing a child without it seeming silly or patronising. It was hard enough to do in the silent era, when people were a little more accustomed to suspending their disbelief, and would be even trickier to do convincingly today.
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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostSat May 05, 2012 9:37 pm

Brooksie wrote:The problem would be finding someone who could pull off the act of playing a child without it seeming silly or patronising. It was hard enough to do in the silent era, when people were a little more accustomed to suspending their disbelief, and would be even trickier to do convincingly today.

Maybe a bigger problem would be finding a contemporary adult actress who could pull off the innocence and sincerity of the Little Mary character.
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Brooksie

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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostMon May 07, 2012 9:10 am

Harlowgold wrote:
Brooksie wrote:The problem would be finding someone who could pull off the act of playing a child without it seeming silly or patronising. It was hard enough to do in the silent era, when people were a little more accustomed to suspending their disbelief, and would be even trickier to do convincingly today.

Maybe a bigger problem would be finding a contemporary adult actress who could pull off the innocence and sincerity of the Little Mary character.


We're saying the same thing here - I should have clarified; I didn't mean the problem would be finding an actress who could convincingly play Mary as a child and as an adult, but who could be shown playing Mary's child roles in the context of the story.
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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostMon May 07, 2012 10:27 am

In the "What Do I Know" Dept., here's a quick scenario to make such a project BO (Box Office that is):

Fade in to late night at the Goldwyn Studios gate circa 1955. A limo pulls up and in the back is a middle aged woman who obviously has had a few. The guard recognizes her and says, "Hello Miss Pickford, so nice to see you again. Please go right in." The car goes through the gate and pulls up to one of the sound stages. the lady gets out of the car and goes through a door into the deserted building that has been prepared apparently expecting her arrival. She sits down and we realize through clever fx that she sees the set as it was 30 years earlier when she was a star there and the producer of her own films.

From there you're on your own but I can see, for better or worse, the story told in flashback to accentuate Pickford in her prime compared to her long decline when she had everything the world could offer except her cherished career. I nominate Charlie Sheen to play Marshall Neilan but I understand that in his later days Neilan looked quite professorial,perhaps making for a contrast to the latter day Pickford.
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silentfilm

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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostMon May 07, 2012 11:10 am

On Facebook, the "new" Biograph company that falsely claims that it is the same company from the silent era, says that they already have a Mary Pickford biography movie in the works. Somebody named Samantha Lochwood will play Mary.

https://www.facebook.com/biograph
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Agnes

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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostMon May 07, 2012 11:21 am

Rodney wrote:
WaverBoy wrote:
LongRider wrote:Jean Dujardin would be a natural for Douglas Fairbanks.

Too bad the film company can't afford him!


He would have to work REALLY hard on his American accent, I'm afraid.


Not if they made it silent! :)



My thoughts exactly, Rodney!
Glad I read through this time (insted of embarrasing myself).

If we could only find someone to score such a venture.............
Agnes McFadden

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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostWed May 09, 2012 11:29 am

Didn't Jean Dejardin basically play Fairbanks in "The Artist", including passing off "The Mark of Zorro" as his characters?! Great film by the way. I would definitely go see a biopic of Pickford. If, for no other reason, than it would be a great introduction for people who kind of like classic films but don't know who she was.

Personally I thought "Chaplin" was a very good film for the same reason. I was familiar with his shorts, but knew virtually nothing about the man and his life until that film came out. Since then, I've read just about every book on him I could get my hands on, and have collected most of his work. I have to say, I thought the best part of the film was the tail end when the filmmakers felt confident enough in Downey's performance to finish of with a montage of the real Chaplin's work. But back to Pickford.

I think Whitfield's book is excellent. And I think it could be made into a very entertaining and eye opening film. I don't think most people realize just how powerful this woman was.
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Re: Mary Pickford Movie

PostThu May 17, 2012 10:29 am

They've signed Lily Rabe to play Pickford, but she doesn't look anything like her.
http://www.deadline.com/2012/05/lily-ra ... -pickford/
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