“The First,” a long-gestating biopic about beloved screen star Mary Pickford, has added a new executive producer to its growing ranks. Ajay Dhebar of IMC Group Media, in association with IMC Holdings and IMC Entertainment, has been brought on to the production to finance the feature, which has been in development since 2012.
The film is billed as the first feature film to profile Pickford and is based on Eileen Whitfield’s book “Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood.” The film is a long-time passion project for filmmaker Jennifer DeLia, who is directing the film and co-wrote the script with Josh Fagin.
Stage and screen star Lily Rabe is confirmed to star as Pickford, and the rest of the current cast attached includes Michael Pitt as Owen Moore, Julia Stiles as Frances Marion, Billy Magnussen as Jack Pickford, Louisa Krause as Lottie Pickford, Josephine de La Baume as Elsie Janis and Ryan Simpkins as a younger Mary Pickford.
The film is currently seeking cast members for a number of cameo roles for parts including that of Douglas Fairbanks and Charle Chaplin. The producers will be in Cannes this week to take meetings to fill those roles, along with other parts including D.W. Griffith, Adolf Zukor, Samuel Goldwyn, Lillian Gish and Charlotte Hennessy (Mary’s mother).
“The First” is billed as “a tale of forbidden love set against the rise of American cinema. At the turn of the century, Mary Pickford becomes the first businesswoman in Hollywood, having founded United Artists. Swept off her feet by the swashbuckling actor Douglas Fairbanks, the very first media-scrutinized love affair in Hollywood ensues, and they are faced with the danger of the masses’ public adoration.”
“The First” is slated to start production in Savannah, Georgia this fall.