OLIVE & JACK is a feature-length documentary about silent screen stars Olive Thomas and Jack Pickford, whose romance ended in Hollywood’s first public scandal—one that would change movies forever.
In 1916, screen ingénue and noted beauty Olive Thomas met established actor Jack Pickford at a Santa Monica beach café. The two fell madly in love and became one of Hollywood’s golden couples.
Olive had traded a teenage marriage for the bright lights of the big city. After building a career as a popular model, she landed a role in the biggest show on Broadway, The Ziegfeld Follies. Jack was Hollywood royalty, the younger brother of America’s Sweetheart Mary Pickford. He was also a popular screen star in his own right with a bad boy reputation.
Their marriage was portrayed as a fairytale romance by the press when, in reality, Olive and Jack’s film careers drove them apart. The fleeting moments they were together were marked by heated fights, drug-fueled parties, and reckless living.
In August 1920, the two decided to have a second honeymoon and sailed to France. After partying in the nightclubs of Paris, the fun turned into a nightmare when on the night of September 5th, Jack woke to his wife’s screams. Olive had ingested bichloride of mercury. Five days later she was dead.
The scandalous death of the young screen star rocked the Hollywood community and press reports were rife with rumors and accusations. Jack never fully recovered from the tragedy and in 1933, died in the same Paris hospital as his beloved Olive.
Their short romance would go on to become one of the most tragic stories in Hollywood history.
At its core, OLIVE & JACK is a love story. Utilizing our stars’ films, rarely seen archival material, and interviews with some of today’s leading storytellers, OLIVE & JACK will center on an intimate narrative of these two young lovers, exploring what it is to be a young person in the spotlight, and the dangers that lurk in its shadows.
Set against a backdrop of early 20th-century America, the film examines the society at the time, from prohibition and drug addiction to the rise of celebrity culture and the evolving roles of women in America. It highlights how the film industry reflected society and how a series of scandals created a shift in sentiments that led to changes that would affect how movies were made for decades to come.
Looking at the early days of American filmmaking, OLIVE & JACK will celebrate the integral role that women like Olive played in the birth of modern filmmaking. From her sister-in-law Mary Pickford, the most powerful person in Hollywood, to renowned screenwriter Frances Marion, Olive was part of a sisterhood whose influence is still felt today.
OLIVE & JACK will tell the story of a young Hollywood through one of its most shocking tragedies.