and the sound of long strips of paper being TORN. A SHHHRR of a TEAR starts as we
A PAINTED PAPER POSTER
torn through the title “THE WARRENS OF VIRGINIA” -- another SHHRR through “BROADWAY” -- another through “SUMMER 1908” -- another bisects a name amongst others “MARY PICKFORD” before we flip to
A GIRL’S FACE
that’s round, ruddy, and ready to punch someone. This is MARY PICKFORD (16) and she feels every SSHHHRRR. Off her we pull back to
INT. STUYVESANT THEATER - FOYER - THAT MOMENT
where two BOYS in 8-panel caps -- one atop a ladder, one holding it -- tear down the floor-to-ceiling posters for “Warrens” from the foyer walls.
Mary looks up at the boy on the ladder.
Set in New York City in 1908, 'And Action' is about Hollywood before there was a Hollywood.
Just dumped off of a Broadway show with the biggest producer in the game, 16-year-old Mary Pickford has to swallow her pride in looking for work to help feed her family. For an actress, taking a shot in the pictures was unfathomable. Despite her sister and mother telling her otherwise, Mary's adamant that she ought to stay in the elite of the profession. But a gig in the flickers is all young Mary can get. After a director in D.W. Griffith takes a (suspiciously involved) shine to her, Mary finds she has a talent: a talent that will ultimately forge her as "the sweetheart of America".
Meanwhile, the titans who will come to form the big 5 studios are all immigrant hustlers clinging for dear life to the rocket of the showbusiness boom. But their capacity to do business how they want is severely kneecapped: a trust of inventors and businessmen lead by Thomas Edison hold all the patents to motion picture technologies. And those WASPs have very different ideas about what the movies could be (namely: nothing more than a novelty for the lower classes). Led by theater owner Adolph Zukor, these independents might just end up birthing an art-form out of the sheer desire for fiscal autonomy.