In a serendipitous bit of timing, Bleecker Street has announced it has picked up the U.S. distribution rights to Kitty Green’s fascinating “The Assistant,” a real-time thriller that follows the aide to a powerful mogul during a horrific day on the job. While Harvey Weinstein is never directly named as the heavy-hitter in question, his specter haunts every frame of the film, along with recent Emmy winner Julia Garner as the assistant in question. The film had its world premiere at the 2019 Telluride Film Festival to critical acclaim and will be released on January 31, 2020.
Per the film’s official synopsis, it “follows one day in the life of Jane Julia Garner, a recent college graduate and aspiring film producer, who has recently landed her dream job as a junior assistant to a powerful entertainment mogul. Her day is much like any other assistant's - making coffee, changing the paper in the copy machine, ordering lunch, arranging travel, taking phone messages, onboarding a new hire. As Jane follows her daily routine, she, and we, grow increasingly aware of the abuse that insidiously colors every aspect of her work day, an accumulation of degradations against which Jane decides to take a stand, only to discover the true depth of the system into which she has entered.”
In IndieWire’s review at this year’s Telluride Film Festival, where the film premiered, Eric Kohn wrote that the film has a “stunning performance at its center, … there's no doubting the hypnotic power of a movie that digs inside Weinstein's harrowing reign and observes the mechanics that allowed it to last so long. A quiet work with major ambitions, ‘The Assistant’ is a significant cultural statement in cinematic form.”
In an official statement, Green said, “I'm so thrilled that 'The Assistant' is in the hands of a team with such passion and vision for sharing it with the world.” Added producer Jen Dana, “We're so proud of this movie, both on its own terms as a cinematic experience and for how it contributes to the ongoing conversation about gender, power, and women's roles in the workplace. It is wonderful to have a partner in Bleecker Street who will support both Kitty as a filmmaker and help drive the necessary broader conversation surrounding the movie.”
Earlier this year, the filmmakers, producers, and financiers announced an exciting partnership with The New York Women’s Foundation. This partnership will see 10% of their profits set aside to support the organization. The film is produced by Kitty Green, Scott Macaulay, James Schamus, and P. Jennifer Dana and Ross Jacobson of 3311 Productions. Executive producers are John Howard, Philipp Engelhorn and Leah Giblin of Cinereach, Abigail E. Disney, The Level Forward Team, Mark Roberts, Sean King O'Grady, and Avy Eschesnasy.
The film will lead off Bleecker Street’s 2020 release slate, following by “Ordinary Love” on February 14, Sally Potter’s untitled latest on March 13, “Military Wives” on March 27, and “Dream Horse” on May 1.
Bleecker Street has acquired U.S. distribution rights to The Assistant, director Kitty Green's drama that has taken as its inspiration the Harvey Weinstein scandal. The pic, which stars Ozark‘s Julia Garner and had its world premiere at Telluride, will now hit theaters on January 31, 2020.
The plot follows one day in the life of Jane Garner, a recent college graduate and aspiring film producer, who has recently landed her dream job as a junior assistant to a powerful entertainment mogul. As she follows her daily routine, she, and we, grow increasingly aware of the abuse that insidiously colors every aspect of her work day, an accumulation of degradations against which Jane decides to take a stand, only to discover the true depth of the system into which she has entered. Matthew Macfadyen and Kristine Froseth co-star.
Green, Scott Macaulay, James Schamus and P. Jennifer Dana and Ross Jacobson of 3311 Productions are producers. Executive producers are John Howard, Philipp Engelhorn and Leah Giblin of Cinereach, Abigail E. Disney, The Level Forward Team, Mark Roberts, Sean King O'Grady and Avy Eschesnasy.
The producers and financiers in August teamed with the New York Women's Foundation in a deal that will see 10% of the pic’s profits set aside to support the foundation's grantmaking to women-led, organizations that promote the economic security, safety, and health of women and families in New York, where the film was made.
“We're so proud of this movie, both on its own terms as a cinematic experience and for how it contributes to the ongoing conversation about gender, power, and women's roles in the workplace,” Dana said in a release announcing the deal Friday. “It is wonderful to have a partner in Bleecker Street who will support both Kitty as a filmmaker and help drive the necessary broader conversation surrounding the movie.”
Green, who wrote and directed, told Deadline’s Pete Hammond before the film’s Telluride premiere that she spent about six months speaking to people across the movie industry - including those who worked at The Weinstein Company and before that at Miramax - and knew the stories she was hearing were similar to those she knew from other industries.
She did say she didn’t want to pin the storyline on just one person or one company, however, even though the parallels are clear. The mogul in the movie is unseen. “I feel like it would reductive to say it's about The Weinstein Company or any specific one because it is a problem everywhere in industry and it's global,” she said.
Bleecker Street’s deal for The Assistant was negotiated by Kent Sanderson and the producers. The film now joins the distributor’s 2020 slate that includes Ordinary Love with Liam Neeson and Leslie Manville February 14, Sally Potter’s new untitled film with Javier Bardem and Elle Fanning March 13, Military Wives March 27 and Dream Horse May 1.
According to a new report from BuzzFeed News, Harvey Weinstein showed up Wednesday night at the Downtime Bar in Lower Manhattan to watch an event supporting young artists; the evening’s performers did not hold back in calling out the disgraced Hollywood mogul who is set to stand trial in New York this January over rape allegations.
Said the report, “Weinstein turned up with an entourage to watch Actor’s Hour, a monthly event ‘dedicated to artists’ at the Downtime bar in the Lower East Side.” His appearance resulted in an angry woman comedian getting booed and two attendees being thrown out of the bar after they protested his appearance. See video from the encounter below.
Comedian Kelly Bachman called out Weinstein onstage, deeming him “the elephant in the room” and “Freddie Krueger” during her set. “I didn't know we had to bring our own Mace and rape whistles to Actor’s Hour,” Bachman later posted on Instagram. See below.
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THIS GIRL IS A BOSS! @kellybachman She called out Harvey Weinstein while he was in the room! SHARE THIS! SHARE THIS! SHARE THIS! #hero #fuckyouharveyweinstein #rapeculture #survivors #survivorsunite
A post shared by Anne Leigh Cooper @anneleighcooper on Oct 23, 2019 at 6:22pm PDT
Weinstein has kept a low profile since multiple accusations detailing his repeated sexual harassment of women began to emerge in fall 2017. “I’m comfortable enough to talk about my experience, but when I’m sitting in the room with a monster that people are supporting, it just sucked the air out of my chest,” Bachman said to BuzzFeed News.
“It kind of felt like old-school Harvey to me — having his own table in a Lower East Side bar, surrounded by actors,” Bachman said in the interview with BuzzFeed.
Another performer, 21-year-old Zoe Stuckless, who uses they/them pronouns, said they saw Weinstein enter the venue using a walker. “As his little booth filled out, his demeanor changed. And it became really apparent that it was who we thought he was,” they told BuzzFeed.
According to the report, another comedian in attendance, Andrew B. Silas, tried to speak his mind as well. “Who in this room produced ‘Good Will Hunting’? ‘Cause that shit was great.”
Per the BuzzFeed story, “Shortly before performing, one of the show’s organizers asked performers not to mention Weinstein’s presence. Silas said he did not mean for his ‘Good Will Hunting’ crack to support Weinstein and instead was intended to play off and remind people of Bachman’s earlier joke.”
“So many women have suffered so greatly because of their experiences with this man, and there were no repercussions,” Stuckless told BuzzFeed. “And, in fact, he was being supported — and the community meant to uplift emerging actors and emerging artists was not only complicit but directly responsible for their silencing.”
As revealed in the YouTube video below, Stuckless attempted to confront Weinstein. “Weinstein placed his elbows on the table while another man next to him was heard speaking to Stuckless. They said the man accompanying Weinstein told them it was none of their business and that they had no right to ask,” wrote BuzzFeed’s Amber Jamieson.
Despite Stuckless’ repeated protests, they were then escorted out of the venue. “This guy was leading me out the stairs, just repeating ‘due process, due process’ to me,” said Stuckless, who could not ascertain whether or not their escort was employed by the bar.
The BuzzFeed story noted that the Downtime Bar’s Facebook page labeled Stuckless as a heckler: “Shortly into the evening, one guest began heckling another, causing a disturbance to everyone in attendance. After several requests to stop were ignored, we kindly asked the heckler to leave.”
According to the story, performer Amber Rollo also confronted Weinstein and his companions. “You're a fucking monster. What are you doing out here? Fuck you.” One of Weinstein’s companions allegedly called Rollo a “cunt.” According to Actor’s Hour organizer Alexandra Laliberte, this is not the first time Weinstein has made an appearance at one of their events.
“I welcome all walks of life into my space,” she told BuzzFeed. “I protect them by freedom of speech.”
IndieWire has reached out to those involved as well as Weinstein’s representatives.
Just over two years after the New York Times published its initial exposé of numerous sexual assault allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, the producer has faced various charges and lawsuits for his crimes. Even so, despite largely staying far outside of the limelight he was once accustomed to, Weinstein is still making occasional attempts to maintain an active public life. For example, according to Gothamist, he was reportedly invited to attend an “Actors Hour” event at the Downtime Bar in New York’s Lower East Side on Wednesday night.
That Weinstein attended an event meant only for working actors, writers, directors, musicians, and other industry professionals isn’t news. What is newsworthy, though, is the fact that at least two women who were present were angry enough to confront Weinstein and his party, and were presumably ostracized by many of the other attendees and kicked out of the establishment as a result. Also, much of this was caught on video and published on social media.
Comedian Amber Rollo was one of the two women. In a string of tweets posted on Thursday, she explained how fellow comic and “Actors Hour” attendee Kelly Bachman called out the “elephant in the room” during her stage time and was quickly booed by Weinstein’s supporters and many others. After a man told her to “shut up,” she responded, “This kills in group therapy for rape survivors.” Bachman then concluded, “I have been raped, surprisingly by no one in this room, but I’ve never gotten to confront those guys, so just a general f*ck you to [you].”
Kelly @bellykachman is my hero. Just a general fuck you to the Freddy Krueger in the room. pic.twitter.com/DZFm6fhxc1
— clever, but make it spooky @ambercrollo October 24, 2019
Rollo herself later went over to Weinstein’s table and “called him a f*cking monster and told him he should disappear.” In response, she was “gently guided… out” by a woman who was with his party. Before she did that, however, fellow event attendee Zoe Stuckless, who wrote about the experience in a Facebook post, angrily confronted Weinstein’s table and everyone else at “Actors Hour” who simply remained silent in his presence.
“I thought about the artists, the women, who were paralyzed by the same fear that I felt, surrounded by colleagues who were intimidated into a culture of silence and passivity. This room was a microcosm of our whole community. And I couldn’t sit there and let him laugh. So I spoke up,” she wrote. “I was kicked out of the bar tonight. His bodyguards herded me out. The event organizers were happy to see me go.”
Per Gothamist, the “Actors Hour” organizers released a statement insisting Weinstein “was NOT invited by the organizer or anyone associated with the organization” and apologizing for what happened. However, the posted statement has since been taken offline, as Rollo’s account and many others all seemed to contradict its claims.
As a follow up, the organizer Actor's Hour has stated that he wasn't invited. This is contradicted by multiple attendees that have been assured that he was personally invited by the organizer and had a table reserved especially for him at last night show AND the previous show.
Tara Wood’s new documentary “QT8: The First Eight” looks back at Quentin Tarantino’s legendary career through the eyes of his collaborators. The movie debuted in theaters October 21 ahead of its on demand launch December 4 and includes at least one notable revelation from Tarantino’s executive producer Stacey Sher, who first collaborated with the director on “Pulp Fiction” and also worked with him on “Django Unchained” and “The Hateful Eight.” Sher reveals Tarantino based Kurt Russell’s brutally misogynistic “Hateful Eight” character John “The Hangman” Ruth on Harvey Weinstein, adding “If you read it on the page it was a little more accurate. Kurt is the most charming person on the planet.”
“The Hateful Eight” was released in December 2015 under The Weinstein Company, nearly two years before the wave of sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein went public. While the movie would be the last Tarantino film produced and distributed by Weinstein, it was made with the full backing of Harvey and TWC. Clearly the film mogul was unaware his behavior had inspired the despicable John Ruth character. Tarantino wrote John Ruth as a bounty hunter who brutalizes his prisoner, the female outlaw Daisy Domergue Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Tarantino wrote the script for “The Hateful Eight” circa 2013-2014, and he was aware at that time of Weinstein’s alleged history of sexual harassment and abuse. Following the initial reports about Weinstein in October 2017, Tarantino came forward in an interview with The New York Times to admit he was aware of Weinstein’s behavior. Tarantino said his former girlfriend Mira Sorvino had told him Weinstein had touched her and made unwanted advances on her. The director added he was aware Rose McGowan had reached a settlement with the producer. McGowan has accused Weinstein of raping her.
“I knew enough to do more than I did,” Tarantino said. “There was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip. It wasn't secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things. I wish I had taken responsibility for what I heard. If I had done the work I should have done then, I would have had to not work with him.”
Tarantino added, “What I did was marginalize the incidents. Anything I say now will sound like a crappy excuse...I chalked it up to a '50s-'60s era image of a boss chasing a secretary around the desk. As if that's ok. That's the egg on my face right now.”
The allegations against Weinstein collapsed The Weinstein Company, which had produced and distributed every Tarantino movie starting with “Death Proof.” Weinstein distributed Tarantino’s previous movies through Miramax starting with the director’s feature debut “Reservoir Dogs.” Tarantino joined a major Hollywood studio for the first time when Sony announced it would be making “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which opened in theaters this summer.
The movie about the race between Thomas Edison Benedict Cumberbatch and George Westinghouse Michael Shannon to illuminate the 1893 World's Fair is being released roughly two years after the former Weinstein Company film was shelved in the wake of sexual misconduct claims against Harvey Weinstein.
Roughly two years after being shelved when the then-Weinstein Company film got caught up in the sexual misconduct allegations against co-founder Harvey Weinstein, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's The Current War is finally set to hit theaters on Friday, this time as a director's cut.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter at the New York premiere of the 101 Studios film on Monday night, the director described the journey from the near-death and eventual rebirth of his film, which follows the dramatic race between Thomas Edison played by Benedict Cumberbatch and George Westinghouse Michael Shannon to illuminate the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, as emotionally wrought. But that pain would also lay the groundwork for the movie he wanted to make.
"There was a period there when it was quiet, there was uncertainty, and no one knew what was going to happen to the film. It was a very difficult time," Gomez-Rejon told THR. "But I never stopped editing the movie in my head. Looking back on it — not in the moment because that was deafening and painful — but looking back on it, it was a blessing. That moment of silence between, for as painful as it was, allowed me to recut the movie in my head, knowing what I had — what he reality of the footage was — and knowing what I needed."
Both the director and writer Michael Mitnick were thankful that their film is seeing the light of day.
"It doesn't feel real," Mitnick said of the movie's release. "I still will not believe it until I go to a theater and buy a ticket myself to see it. It's been 11 years on this one, but I feel incredibly lucky that we got a chance to make the film that we wanted. I feel fully aware of how rare that is. So I'm just grateful and excited."
Gomez-Rejon said the outcome, as well as the hard learning experiences that came with it, reaffirmed his unflinching passion for the craft of filmmaking. "Every film you decide to make has to be worth fighting for, dying for," the director said. "There has to be a very clear idea of why you're making it because the next one may be as difficult, maybe more difficult than this one. God, I hope it is not, but you still have to have a reason to keep fighting, and that has to be very clear before you undertake any project."
This dedication was shared with Mitnick, producers and cast members Tuppence Middleton, Shannon and Cumberbatch, whose "most beautiful show of support" during reshoots, was echoed at the premiere.
"This film coming back to life had to do with all the people involved in it, the cast, crew, the incredibleChung-hoon Chung, Alfonso and Michael Mitnick with his script. People worked hard, and it's about honoring that hard work," Cumberbatch said. "That's why I'm here talking about this film."
Executive producer Adam Sidman echoed Cumberbatch's sentiments about the film's release being a true group endeavor. He also championed Gomez-Rejon's care for his cast and his story, as well as his "uncanny ability to be very meticulous and never compromise." That's all why, Mitnick said, the director was the "perfect fit" to steer this film.
"He's a visionary, the same way as Edison and Tesla," the film's producer Timur Bekmambetov told THR. "When I met him for the first time, I understood that he had something. He enjoys creating a world, not just telling a story. For him, it's not just a story. It's more than a story."
"He's so creative. He's so kind. He's a very gentle soul," said Middleton of her Current War director. "I feel really lucky to have been one of I think two women who are kind of at the forefront of this film, and it was really fortunate that Alfonso also really cared about the female story in the context of this film."
The director's deep care stretched throughout the film's production and re-shoots, but it became especially important while in the re-editing process, which Sidman says saw the director staying up in the 101 Studios offices until 2 or 3 a.m. for months. During that time, Gomez-Rejon cut, reflected on and recut the movie again to make it truly his.
The result is "an entirely different movie," said Sidman, and one, Middleton told THR, that really allowed Gomez-Rejon's modern way of shooting what could've been a straight period piece to shine. "I think it's partly because he works with the amazingChung-hoon Chung. They worked on Me and Earl and the Dying Girl together, which I loved," Middleton said. "They had a very unique way of looking at it. It's very pace-y, the momentum is always kind of going with the help of these crazy camera angles."
For the director, refusal to give up was about telling the world the 2017 cut, which screened at the Toronto Film Festival to less than rave reviews, was not only not his version but not who he was as a director.
"One can get confused with the notes and the chaos and the noise and the opinions and losing leverage and getting it back and losing it again," said Gomez-Rejon. "It was important to me to be able to look people in the eyes and tell them I did my best. There was a time in the past where I couldn't. To have the second chance to really go all out and feel that I did my best — to have the cast and crew follow me on this journey — it means the world to me."
It's a second chance that everyone in attendance was proud of. "Whatever happened in the past, we've moved behind us," Sidman told THR. "We know that it's Alfonso's film and it's the strongest film that it can be."
"Everyone deserves a second chance, you know?" said Bekmambetov. "And really it's not a second chance, it's the first chance because the first one was not a chance."