Seduced by the false gods of fame and fortune, Pola makes her bid for world stardom the moment she steps off the cruise liner in New York. But a talented exotic foreigner is what America loves to hate - and Hollywood’s nest of vipers is ready to spit out its venom. Nobody welcomes a sassy woman with ideas of her own and the press are about to have a field day.

Her Paramount boss, Adolph Zukor, tries to control her but she’s a loose cannon. He’s not used to women who stand up to him. Her meteoric rise earns her resentment from reigning queen Gloria Swanson, a rivalry stirred up by a fickle press. In time, she and Gloria see that they have been manipulated and resolve never to surrender to the men who are their puppet-masters.

But it’s romance that rocks Pola’s ambition. When her affair with Charlie Chaplin is played out in public, she can’t untangle her real feelings from what is reported in the press. Their affair is doomed to failure - the Queen of Tragedy will never marry the King of Comedy. Love stares at her from the silver screen reminding her that real life isn’t like the movies. Only her devoted maid Magda reminds her who she really is.

Finally, she finds what she’s really been seeking - true love and this time it’s with Rudolph Valentino. But she faces a choice - her career or to follow the love of her life? She chooses her art.

Rudy’s sudden death brings new pain reviving memories of her father's murder when she was a child. While the world weeps for Valentino, the Hollywood press turns against Pola painting her as a very un-American drama queen. She is not beaten and faces up to her grief finding strength with herself and from Rudy’s love beyond the grave. She resolves to be true to herself and never again be at the mercy of the pen.

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After many years as a producer for the BBC and Channel 4, Lea Sellers is now a screenwriter, playwright and media trainer. She has an MA in Screenwriting (with Distinction) from Bournemouth University and has written feature film scripts as well as stage, television and radio plays.

Her stage play ‘Baby Come Back’ was performed at the Leicester Square Theatre in July 2017.

Some of her work has been showcased at the Soho Theatre London and she has had various pieces of works performed with the Actors and Writers London group and the Director’s Cut Theatre.

Acclaimed British actor Simon Russell Beale has starred in a rehearsed reading of her play ‘Holy Fool’ , co-written with Rosalind Adler, and the play is scheduled for a run at a leading London theatre next year.

Her play 'D Minor' about mental health in young girls is also scheduled to run in May 2020 in London.

Proud of her Polish heritage and fascinated by the influence of Polish artists on early cinema, Yvonne developed a strong interest in the great silent film star, Pola Negri. This obsession led to more than two decades of research into her private and public life.

Continuing to hone the craft of a screenwriter and stacking her deck with projects that she’s deeply passionate about, Yvonne is completing two further spec scripts.

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Writer Statement

Pola Negri is a national treasure in Poland and it’s time her Hollywood fame was restored.

Over the last decade, an increasing number of Pola’s films have been skillfully refurbished and screened at several European and American film festivals to rapturous applause.

In 2016, Ernst Lubitsch’s “Forbidden Paradise” was restored in 4K from a 35mm print by Paramount Pictures. Mal St Clair’s “A Woman of the World” was restored by MoMA and The Film Foundation, which is chaired by Martin Scorsese. Funding was provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation. Both films are held at MoMA.

Yvonne Potter and Lea Sellers have weaved a contemporary and intimate dramatization of a woman battling against the odds. British film historian and Academy Honorary Award winner Kevin Brownlow has consulted on this project.

Pola Negri’s life story is in the public domain but the writers have the blessing of the executor of Pola’s will in the United States, as well as that of Pola’s great-nephew based in Warsaw, Poland.

We see this as a co-production including the UK, Poland, the United States and potentially Italy (Rudolph Valentino) and Germany (Ernst Lubitsch).

Lea is British, and Yvonne holds dual citizenship (UK/USA).