The New York Film Festival world premiere of She saysbased on the book of the same name on the New York TimesThe investigation into Harvey Weinstein’s decades of alleged sexual misconduct was a “memorable moment,” director Maria Schrader said Thursday night.
Schrader said she and the team behind the Universal film, which she was still working on four weeks ago, had hoped the film would debut in New York.
“That’s actually what we wanted because that’s where he belongs,” she said. The Hollywood Reporter before She saysis the first.
The film screened at the prestigious Fall Festival, which Weinstein himself attended in his heyday. And the world premiere took place at the start of Weinstein’s sexual assault trial in Los Angeles. He was found guilty of rape in a trial in New York in early 2020.
But Thursday night the focus was on women, with the red carpet event not only welcoming the many female personalities behind the film, including the Time journalists who worked on the 2017 expose, but also to the women who accused Weinstein of misconduct.
Among the survivors present were Ashley Judd, whose official account was a key part of the Time‘ presentation and who took part in a round table after the screening of the film.
Recalling speaking out about Weinstein, Judd, who mourned the death of his mother Naomi Judd earlier this year, seemed emotional as he recalled his mother’s support when she decided to come forward.
“I just want to remember when I was talking to my mum about all this, she said, ‘Oh, you go get them, honey,’ in her sweet, suave way…not a punishing bone in her body” Judd said in the post-screening panel. “She was just captivated by my audacity, as I later heard from friends.”
Judd even plays herself in the film and said that during filming she “continued to tell the story” of what happened to her and Weinstein in 1996 at the Peninsula Hotel.
The film’s cast also includes another Weinstein accuser, Sarah Ann Masse. Although Masse’s personal background (she says he sexually assaulted her when she interviewed her to babysit) is not included in the film, she plays business reporter Emily Steel.
Masse, who started the Hire Survivors Hollywood initiative, said she hopes Universal will hire survivors for the film.
“I actually spoke to a few people at the company and they were receptive, but I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Masse said. THR before the premiere. “Several months later many of us got a call saying we had an audition for this movie. I wasn’t expecting to audition, I was just hoping they would include survivors. I was so obviously thrilled and I auditioned for the role and got it.
Centering and acknowledging the women who spoke out against Weinstein was key to writing the script, says screenwriter Rebecca Lenkiewicz THR before the premiere, while Schrader felt a strong “responsibility to get the details right, to do justice to the sensitivity of the subject”.
“The biggest challenge was to honor everyone who was involved in speaking out and in the investigation,” Lenkiewicz said. “So the challenge was to portray journalists accurately and fantastic journalism and to show how absolutely brave and resilient survivors have been.”
Lenkiewicz and actor Andre Braugher, who plays the former Time editor Dean Baquet in the film, said they were thrilled to be working on a film that aimed to shine a light on wrongdoings in Hollywood.
“Working in Hollywood makes you want to tell the story even more because you want to be able to work in an industry that doesn’t [tolerate] this horrible behavior,” Lenkiewicz said.
Braugher added that he thinks the film has “the potential to really tell the story that hasn’t been told, a story that you can’t get from soundbites on television.”
And Jennifer Ehle – who plays Laura Madden, a former Weinstein employee who said, according to the 2017 Time exposed, that he pushed her to get a massage – said she hoped the public would take away “the power of the collective voice of people standing together and supporting each other.”
“I think it’s very important, especially at this time, that we all realize that whatever we believe, if we all come together with other people who believe the same thing, it is possible to change practices and beliefs. results or at least set things in motion,” she said, adding that the film also shows “the power of investigative journalism and how important it is to protect journalism and the free press.”
With regard to changes since the Time‘ The Weinstein investigation, which opened the floodgates for other survivors of sexual misconduct to come forward, Zoe Kazan, who plays Jodi Kantor in the film, Judd and others pointed to more open conversations and understanding wide of what is and is not acceptable behavior.
But Kazan said, “There are still so many changes to be made.”
“Anyone who reads the headlines from say the beginning of May would know that we still live in an oppressive patriarchy,” she said during the post-screening panel, appearing to refer to the leaked notice. of the Supreme Court reversing Roe v. Wade.
Still one of Weinstein’s first accusers, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, who told New York police in 2015 that Weinstein assaulted her, said she had and continues to hope for a better future.
“[In 2015,] I was basically the only person speaking out. I was alone and felt like I was helpless, but I don’t know why I still had hope inside that I was always doing the right thing, that something would happen,” Gutierrez said. “I never imagined this would have happened, putting it in the media, talking at length and getting more people to come forward and also try to get justice through the laws that are put in place, because now they are trying to change, at the root, what is wrong. With the #MeToo movement and the strength of women, there are more opportunities to try to fix things that happened in the past.
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