Archive for October 21st, 2017

That’s How It Works

One day, when I was 19 years old, I was in the middle of a photo shoot for a Miramax film when I was suddenly told it was time to leave. I was wearing a little black dress, showing a lot of cleavage, lying seductively on my side and looking slyly at the camera. The part I had played in the movie, Guinevere, could not have been more removed from this pose. My character was an awkward girl, bumbling, in fact, who wore sweatshirts and jeans, and had little sense of her sexual power. But this was how they were going to sell the movie, and at a certain point, I was tired of being a problem, which is how a female actor is invariably treated whenever she points out that she is being objectified or not respected.

I was pulled out of the photo shoot abruptly. The publicist stories-we-tell---sp-and-mp-snowmansaid that we needed to be in Harvey Weinstein’s office in 20 minutes.

“Are we done here?” I asked. “No” was the answer. “But Harvey wants you there now.”

In the taxi, the publicist looked at me and said: “I’m going in with you. And I’m not leaving your side.” I knew everything I needed to know in that moment, and I was grateful.

When I got there, Mr. Weinstein wasted no time. He told me, in front of the publicist and a co-worker beside him, that a famous star, a few years my senior, had once sat across from him in the chair I was in now. Because of his “very close relationship” with this actress, she had gone on to play leading roles and win awards. If he and I had that kind of “close relationship,” I could have a similar career. “That’s how it works,” I remember him telling me. The implication wasn’t subtle. I replied that I wasn’t very ambitious or interested in acting, which was true. He then asked me about my political activism and went on to recast himself as a left-wing activist, which was among the funniest things I’d ever heard.

furthur=>

Advertisements

Lost In The Mail

My Harvey story is different, mostly because of timing. I was in one of the first films that Weinstein produced. I accepted a supporting role in a small movie based on Loser Takes All, the short novel by Graham Greene. I was twenty years old. The idea of playing a supporting role in a small British movie appealed to me after having just made a big splash in the John Hughes movies. Plus, I was an enormous fan of Greene’s writing. When we began filming, in France, I was gallery-1445357085-gettyimages-111614916warned about the producer, but I had never heard of him and had no reason to fear him.

Thankfully, I wasn’t cajoled into a taxi, nor did I have to turn down giving or getting a massage. I was lucky. Or perhaps it was because, at that moment in time, I was the one with more power. The English Patient, Weinstein’s first Best Picture winner, was still a few years away. The worst I had to contend with was performing new pages that Harvey had someone else write, which were not in the script; my co-star, Robert Lindsay, and I had signed off to do a film adapted and directed by one person, and then were essentially asked to turn our backs on him and film scenes that were not what we had agreed to. We hadn’t even finished filming, and the movie was already being taken away from the director.

After that, the film was completely taken away, recut, and retitled. Weinstein named it Strike It Rich, because he insisted that Americans couldn’t stand to have the word “loser” in a title. He also changed the poster: he had my head stuck onto another body, dressed in a form-fitting, nineteen-fifties-pinup-style dress, with a hand reaching out to accept a diamond, like Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. I wouldn’t have posed for a picture like that, since it had nothing to do with the character I portrayed; it struck me as ridiculous false advertising. (I was always a little mystified that Harvey had a reputation as a great tastemaker when he seemed so noticeably lacking in taste himself. But he did have a knack for hiring people who had it, and I figured that’s what passes for taste in Hollywood.) In any case, the film tanked. I had a percentage of the gross, and, as it turned out, you still make money if you have a gross percentage. I found this out about a year later, when my lawyer called to tell me that I had been denied the percentage owed to me. She asked if it was O.K. if she went after the Weinsteins. I ended up suing them for the money, which I got, and I never worked with Harvey or the company again.

furthur=>


When I Worked

October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Sep   Nov »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  
Advertisements