He might not be part of the Boardwalk Empire cast any more, but Michael Pitt isn’t sitting around the house eating crisps and watching the Paralympics. He’s signed on to The First, which will chronicle the life story of legendary actress Mary Pickford.
Jennifer DeLia is directing the film from Josh Fagin’s script, itself adapted from Eileen Whitfield’s biography Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood.
Born in Toronto as Gladys Marie Smith, Pickford’s life was certainly an interesting one. An actor in plays and musicals from an early age, she nearly gave up on her aspirations when the family suffered six impoverished years on the road. But a combination of luck and real talent saw her working with Cecil B DeMille (when he was an unknown actor) and later DW Griffith, who gave Pickford her first big screen break. Eventually, she became a huge international star – one of the first well-known celebrities who also took control of her career – and in 1919, she partnered with Griffith, Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks to form United Artists. And those are just a couple of her accomplishments.
Ryan Simpkins is on to play Pickford at a young age, whereas Lily Rabe will appear as the actress / producer during her successful years. Pitt is on as Owen Moore, a silent film actor who struggled with alcoholism and his jealousy of his wife’s more successful career.
The cameras should start cranking next year.