Jude Law as Douglas Fairbanks? It’s hard to imagine the cool and aloof (and blue-eyed blond) Law playing Fairbanks, the ever-smiling, ever-bouncing, swarthy hero of silent era blockbusters such as The Three Musketeers, Robin Hood, and The Thief of Bagdad. But stranger things have happened: I’d never have imagined Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe, but that didn’t prevent Williams from earning excellent reviews, critics’ awards, and an Oscar nod for her performance in Simon Curtis’ My Week with Marilyn.
Anyhow, according to Forbes magazine, Poverty Row Entertainment producers Jennifer DeLia and Julie Pacino (Al Pacino’s daughter) want Jude Law to play opposite Lily Rabe’s Mary Pickford in their upcoming Pickford biopic, which DeLia is set to direct. Fairbanks and Pickford, the King and Queen of Hollywood, were married in 1920. It was fairy-tale marriage — at least as far as the fan magazines were concerned.
Away from the cameras and the press, Fairbanks had affairs with other women, while Pickford, who had little in common with the young urchins she played, eventually became an alcoholic. The couple were divorced in 1936. That same year, Fairbanks remarried; three years later, he died of a heart attack at age 56.
Mary Pickford was the second Best Actress Academy Award winner, and the first actress to win for a talking picture (the dreadful Coquette). Pickford and Fairbanks, I should add, were two of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences founders. Along with D.W. Griffith and Charles Chaplin, the duo also founded United Artists. (Part of the old Pickford-Fairbanks Studios was recently torn down.)
Later in life, Pickford, the star of progressive, socially conscious movies such as The Hoodlum and Tess of the Storm Country, would turn into a quite reactionary "conservative." She died in 1979. [Mary Pickford Oscar controversy.]
Jude Law-Douglas Fairbanks connection
Broadway actress Lily Rabe played opposite Al Pacino in The Merchant of Venice. As for Jude Law, who’ll turn 40 next December, he has already played Errol Flynn in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator. That’s Law’s Fairbanks connection: Flynn would famously reprise one of Fairbanks’ key roles in Michael Curtiz and William Keighley’s The Adventures of Robin Hood. [Check out Douglas Fairbanks as Robin Hood.]
Best known for his two Sherlock Holmes movies opposite Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law has been appearing in films since the mid-’90s. Law has two Oscar nominations to his credit, both in movies directed by Anthony Minghella: Best Supporting Actor for The Talented Mr. Ripley, opposite Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow, and Cold Mountain, with Nicole Kidman and Renée Zellweger.
Oh, just about another Jude Law-Douglas Fairbanks connection: Robert Downey Jr. Law’s Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows co-star earned an Oscar nomination for playing United Artists co-founder Charles Chaplin in Richard Attenborough’s Chaplin back in 1992.
As an aside, according to the Forbes article, Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia) was interested in directing the Mary Pickford biopic, but "a matter of scheduling" prevented him from taking the helm.