Susan Sarandon‘s production company, Reframed Pictures, American Masters and Submarine are partnering on a feature-length documentary film about 1940s screen siren Hedy Lamarr (November 9, 1914 – January 19, 2000).
The film will be directed by Alexandra Dean and produced by Katherine Drew and Adam Haggiag. It will be executive produced by Susan Sarandon and Michael Kantor. David Koh and Dan Braun of Submarine will serve as co-producers. The documentary received funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story will be produced in association with THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC’s American Masters for WNET, and will have its world premiere at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival this spring (Sunday, April 23). After the Movie, Tribeca Film Institute and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation will host an exclusive panel with director Alexandra Dean and prominent women in both entertainment and STEM, focusing on how both groups have been historically underrepresented in their respective fields.
Hedy Lamarr was the original wild child. Her scandalous nude appearance in the 1933 Czech film Ecstasy made her infamous at the age of 17. She married a prominent Austrian businessman who became a weapons dealer to the Nazis. Lamarr, who was born Jewish, fled her husband in the middle of the night, boarding a boat for America with nothing to her name except a single designer gown. On board, she dazzled MGM boss Louis B. Mayer and convinced him to offer her one of the best contracts in Hollywood. As a movie star, she was considered by many to be “the most beautiful woman in the world.” Songs were written about her beauty. Snow White was modeled on her iconic look. She married six times and had affairs with everyone from Howard Hughes to Spencer Tracy. But 15 years after her death, the world has all but forgotten her.
This documentary will re-discover Hedy Lamarr, not only as an actress but also as a brilliant mind, whose most significant contribution to history has been overlooked. Lamarr was a secret inventor and in the midst of World War II devoted her nights to designing weapons that would help the Allies win the war. Her greatest achievement was a wireless form of communication called “frequency hopping,” which would go on to revolutionize communications all over the world. That patent, which she created with avant-garde composer George Antheil, would go on to pave the way for the creation of wireless phones, Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi. It’s even used by the U.S. Air Force in the multi-billion-dollar Milstar defense satellite system.