instagram envelope_alt facebook twitter search youtube_play whatsapp remove external_link loop2 arrow-down2

Extinction time for Hollywood’s dinosaurs: Metro’s chief film critic on Storm Harvey

Abuse of
power:
Emma
Thompson
talks to
Newsnight
about the
industry’s
gender
issues PIC: BBC

THE news about Harvey Weinstein, with everyone from Angelina Jolie to Gwyneth Paltrow accusing him of sexual assault and harassment, landed during last week’s London Film Festival, chucking a grenade into every press interview with ‘talent’.

The industry responses were telling. One Hollywood actor I interviewed would suddenly only be interviewed if paired with his director (safety in numbers), and would only agree to go ahead if no Weinstein questions were asked.

Actresses were generally happy — even relieved — to talk about a system they’d struggled within for so long. In one case, an actor was happy to talk but his ‘reps’ (who were lurking protectively in the bathroom) immediately leapt in to shut the questions down — perpetuating the industry’s sexual omertà. Yet there really is no hiding.

If you don’t go on the record about it, your silence is noted.

Weinstein has become ‘the’ topic, not just in the US, where he was famously dubbed ‘God’ by Meryl Streep, but also in the UK, where he was equally at the heart of the movie establishment.

His muscle power as a champion of independent film led to major Oscar successes such as Shakespeare In Love, The King’s Speech and The English Patient. Such was his reach that Dame Judi Dench famously (fake) tattooed ‘JD loves HW’ with a heart and arrow through it on her bottom. Both women have since spoken out against him.

Bafta sent a strong message by stripping Weinstein of his membership — prompting an emergency meeting at the slower-to-act American Academy this weekend. Several British actresses including Cara Delevingne, Kate Beckinsale and Romola Garai bravely and notably went public about their own encounters with Weinstein.

However, it was Emma Thompson’s appearance on Newsnight that really captured the deeper issue at stake.

To her this abuse of power by men towards women has gone on ‘since time immemorial’ and Weinstein is not just one lone sexual predator.

He is the symbol of something deeper and more endemic that affects every industry.

The British Film Institute said: ‘We don’t believe this situation would have taken so long to surface had there been greater parity of women in the industry.’

It’s time to make that happen and to consign a dinosaur like Weinstein to extinction.

The news about Harvey Weinstein, with everyone from Angelina Jolie to Gwyneth Paltrow accusing him sexual assault and harassment, landed during last week’s London Film Festival, chucking a grenade into every press interview with ‘talent’.

The industry responses were telling. One Hollywood actor I interviewed suddenly would only be interviewed paired with his director (safety in numbers) and would only agree to go ahead if no Weinstein questions were asked.

Actresses were generally happy, even relieved, to talk about a system that they’d struggled within for so long. In one case an actor was happy to talk, but his ‘reps’ (who were lurking protectively in the bathroom) immediately leapt in to shut the questions down — perpetuating the industry’s sexual omertà. Yet there really is no hiding. If you don’t go on the record about it, your silence is noted.

Weinstein has become ‘the’ topic, not just in the US, where he was famously dubbed ‘God’ by Meryl Streep, but in the UK, where he was equally at the heart of the movie establishment. His muscle power as a champion of independent film led to major Oscar successes such as Shakespeare In Love, The King’s Speech and The English Patient. Such was his reach that Dame Judi Dench famously (fake) tattooed ‘JD loves HW’ with a heart and arrow through it on her bottom. Both women have since spoken out against him.

Bafta sent a strong message by stripping Weinstein of his membership — prompting an emergency meeting at the slower-to-act American Academy this weekend. Several British actresses including Cara Delevingne, Kate Beckinsale and Romola Garai bravely and notably went public about their own encounters with Weinstein.

However, it was Emma Thompson’s appearance on Newsnight that really captured the deeper issue at stake. To her this abuse of power by men towards women has gone on ‘since time immemorial’ and Weinstein is not one lone sexual predator, but the symbol of something deeper and more endemic that affects every industry.

The British Film Institute issued a statement that ‘We don’t believe this situation would have taken so long to surface had there been greater parity of women in the industry.’ It’s time to make that happen and to consign a dinosaur like Weinstein to extinction.