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  • Matt Donnelly

Patricia Clarkson to Play Fair Pay Pioneer Lilly Ledbetter (EXCLUSIVE)

Via Variety |

Patricia Clarkson is set to portray Lilly Ledbetter, the fair pay pioneer for whom President Obama named a piece of legislation in 2009.

The “Sharp Objects” Emmy winner will lead “Lilly,” a new indie feature from director Rachel Feldman. The script was co-written by Feldman and Adam Prince (“Junglee”), from producer J. Todd Harris (“TheTrial of The Chicago 7,” “The Kids Are All Right”).

Ledbetter was a factory worker who had been paid 40% less than her male coworkers in the same role over a 20-year period. In a David vs. Goliath struggle, the aggrieved Alabama wife and mother motivated President Obama to sign his first piece of legislation in her name. The project will follow one woman’s fight for justice, while also painting a heartbreaking personal story and the tension-filled stakes behind her political achievements.

Oscar-nominated Clarkson said she feels a personal connection to the project, hailing from a political family. She is the youngest daughter of Jackie Clarkson, a twenty-year veteran of New Orleans politics.

“When I told my mother that I’d be playing Lilly Ledbetter, she had to put the phone down to catch her breath. Playing Lilly is truly an honor, I’m thrilled to bring this extraordinary woman to life,” she said.

Director Feldman’s credits include “Criminal Minds,” “Blue Bloods,” and "The Rookie” on ABC.

“There have been many films made about an ordinary citizen who fights entrenched, monolithic systems, but as a filmmaker, what interests me is not the struggle per se, but the psychological cost of activism,” said Feldman. “Though Lilly never received a dime in reparations, she became the face of an issue, and speaking up for others defined a life of purpose, fulfilling her destiny. I believe Lilly’s story of radical resilience is a theme that will resonate around the world. The opportunity to collaborate with the astoundingly-gifted Patricia Clarkson is thrilling.”

Harris added that the project was “the perfect movie for the moment and Patricia Clarkson has the gravitas to create a bravura performance from this beautiful screenplay.”

The film is set for production in the coming months and, while seeking distribution, is planning an impact campaign devoted to equity and safety for women in the workplace timed to release, spearheaded by executive producers Simone Pero (“The Tale”) Jyoti Sarda (“And She Could Be Next”) and David Rich.

Clarkson is represented by Chris Andrews and Kevin Huvane at CAA, and Tony Lipp at Anonymous Talent. Feldman is repped by manager Rory Koslow at Well Told Entertainment.


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