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Jude Law Sought To Play Douglas Fairbanks In Mary Pickford Biopic

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist May 29, 2012 at 11:20AM

Quite often, the Oscar-winning success of a film will lead to studios jumping over themselves to greenlight anything they have in the works that might be vaguely similar. "Slumdog Millionaire," for instance, led to development on a number of India-set projects, including the current sleeper hit "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel." "The King's Speech," meanwhile, has led to royal-related projects, from "W.E." and "Hyde Park On Hudson" to "Girls' Night Out" becoming quite the hot property.
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Jude Law

Quite often, the Oscar-winning success of a film will lead to studios jumping over themselves to greenlight anything they have in the works that might be vaguely similar. "Slumdog Millionaire," for instance, led to development on a number of India-set projects, including the current sleeper hit "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel." "The King's Speech," meanwhile, has led to royal-related projects, from "W.E." and "Hyde Park On Hudson" to "Girls' Night Out" becoming quite the hot property.

But despite breathless, idiotic headlines asking if the success of "The Artist" meant that the era of sound film was over, the world of silent film hasn't yet been become the latest hot trend -- no one's asked Guy Maddin to direct "Die Hard 5" or anything. But there is one film that's coming together that promises to look at some of silent era's best known stars, and is assembling a pretty impressive selection of talent.

Producers Jennifer DiLea (who is also directing the film) and Julie Pacino (yes, Al's daughter), who were behind last year's indie drama "Billy Bates," are currently working on a biopic of Mary Pickford, one of the first movie megastars, based on Eileen Whitford's biography "Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood." And last week, per Deadline, DiLea and Pacino cast Lily Rabe, the daughter of Jill Clayburgh and David Rabe, and star of "American Horror Story," in the lead role. And according to Forbes, the producers have set their hearts on Jude Law to play Pickford's husband Douglas Fairbanks (which would mark the second swashbuckling star Law would have played, after Errol Flynn in "The Aviator")

Pickford was discovered by D.W. Griffith, and thanks to hits like "Hearts Adrift," became the first massive female movie star, and arguably the most famous woman in the world. She met Fairbanks while on a Liberty Bonds tour in 1918, and the two started an affair. The couple went on to co-found United Artists with Griffith and Charlie Chaplin in 1919, and Fairbanks became her second husband the next year. They were thought of as Hollywood royalty, but Fairbanks had an affair with Sylvia Ashley in the 1930s, and the marriage eventually fell apart.

Josh Fagin, the co-producer of "Warrior," is writing the script. and Forbes say that Jonathan Demme is the first choice to direct: the "Silence of the Lambs" and "Rachel Getting Married" helmer apparently wants to do the film, but has to work out his scheduling first. Law doesn't seem to have signed on the dotted line yet, and it would have to fit around his British comedy "Dom Hemingway," but we're sure that's workable.

This article is related to: Jude Law, Lily Rabe, Jonathan Demme