Hey, Maybe Be Cautious When Making a Movie About Harvey Weinstein
It was only a matter of time until someone made a Harvey Weinstein movie. Sure, we’re still dealing with the fallout of his alleged actions and Hollywood still is full of men behaving badly, but we caught the Big Bad, so naturally all is now changed for the best and therefore we can make a movie about it and show the world how much the system has changed!
Several projects are being shopped around, including two documentaries as well as a project centered around a young woman who becomes Weinstein’s assistant.
The assistant film, which will be directed by Kitty Green and star Julie Garner should the talks work out, has been described as being similar to The Devil Wears Prada, which is a big swing and a miss on understanding that film. Miranda Priestly was evil, but not as evil as Weinstein. So already we’re off to more than a bit of a bad start. The film is supposedly about an assistant who’s an amalgamation of several Weinstein employees, rather than just telling one specific story.
Overall, we had to know this was coming as a collective culture, because Hollywood loves to tell a story about terrible men to get Oscar attention. Still, there’s a decent argument to be made that we’re making this too soon after the allegations came out and Weinstein was arrested. This feels more like someone trying to tap into the cultural moment and maybe, just maybe, not actually considering what happened to his alleged victims and those affected by him.
There’s also a need to handle this story with sensitivity. The abuse of women in Hollywood is both one of the worst kept secrets of the industry and a real incident with real victims. To throw the story out onto the big screen to cash into the attention given to Weinstein is irresponsible at best and dangerous at worst. It would turn the story into an excuse to watch women being abused and mistreated.
I’m hesitant about the film being described as being like Devil Wears Prada as well. It’s one thing to watch Meryl Streep lecture Anne Hathaway on the color cerulean. A male boss terrorizing a female employee has vastly different connotations. Framing the entire story around a youthful actress being mistreated by a boss played by an actor out to win Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars sounds terrible to watch. The story takes on so many different layers, and those need to be treated with nuance.
It’s possible that a script was written in this short amount of time that does handle this respectfully, but the timing seems off. Maybe give the story a few years to breathe and the writers a few years to find a strong, not exploitative voice to tell the story. This isn’t something that should be rushed to bring to the silver screen, not when it’s still a problem. Maybe let’s fix Hollywood first before patting ourselves on the back and telling everyone that oh, this sort of thing doesn’t happen any longer.
(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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