Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s incredible rise to power and his epic fall from grace is getting the Hollywood treatment from the BBC, which is developing a 90-minute feature documentary on how Weinstein’s alleged abuses were uncovered and went unreported for years.
The documentary, tentatively titled Weinstein, will include interviews with “the many actresses who have been brave enough to tell their stories,” as well as producers, directors, actors, agents, lawyers, and journalists about Hollywood’s culture of sexual abuse, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The project will be directed by Ursula MacFarlane with the production company Lightbox, which intends to provide “the definitive story of Weinstein’s career, fall from grace and Hollywood’s culture of abuse” by offering “fresh insights and revelations to the epic story of Weinstein’s rise and fall.”
Lightbox added that the film would “delve into the complex mix of money, power, exploitation, and abuse that developed with the emergence of the studio system in the 1930s” to lift the lid on “the culture of fear and abuse that permeates Hollywood.”
Through telling the story of Weinstein’s extraordinary rise and fall, this film will really get to the heart of the big questions that lie at the center of the scandal: how did Weinstein get away with his behavior for so long, what does his story reveal about how powerful men have operated in Hollywood and beyond and will this be a watershed moment in terms of the way women are treated in the workplace?
“The breaking of silence over Harvey Weinstein is a watershed moment for the creative industries and for wider society,” added Patrick Holland, the controller of BBC Two, the channel on which the documentary will air. “Ursula is a brilliant filmmaker and is perfectly placed to make the definitive documentary, piecing together the story of just how he abused his power and position.”
Initial allegations against Weinstein emerged in October in a bombshell New York Times report, leading to nearly 90 women accusing him of sexual crimes ranging from harassment to rape, which has also sparked a wider sexual misconduct scandal across the entertainment and media industries.
Weinstein was consequently fired from his role at The Weinstein Company, a company he co-founded in 2005 with his brother Bob Weinstein, and was expelled from numerous Hollywood trade organizations, including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Television Academy, and the Producers Guild of America.
Harvey Weinstein has since checked into a sexual rehabilitation facility in Arizona, while law enforcement agencies in both Los Angeles and New York are reportedly preparing indictments against him. Meanwhile, The Los Angeles Police Department has also assembled a task force to investigate sexual abuse allegations against the scores of prominent figures across the industry accused of wrongdoing.
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‘Antebellum’ has a ‘Get Out’ vibe, but doesn’t live up to its twist
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definite..
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definitely shouldn’t be spoiled even a little. Once that revelation is absorbed, however, the movie becomes less distinctive and inspired, reflecting an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist that made “Get Out” a breakthrough, without the same ability to pay off the premise.
Originally destined for a theatrical run, the movie hits digital platforms trumpeting a “Get Out” pedigree in its marketing campaign, since there’s an overlap among the producing teams.
More directly, the film marks the directing debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, who have championed social-justice issues through their advertising work. The opening script features a quote from author William Faulkner, whose intent will eventually become clearer: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
If that sounds like a timely means of drawing a line from the horrors of slavery to the racism of today, you’ve come to the right place.
The story begins on a plantation, where the brutal overseers carry out grisly punishments against those tilling the fields. A few have just tried to escape, led by Veronica (Janelle Monae), and they pay a heavy price for their resistance, which does nothing to curb her defiance.
Also written by Bush + Renz, the script take too long before revealing what makes “Antebellum” different, but the middle portion — a “The Twilight Zone”-like phase when it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on — is actually the film’s strongest. (Even the trailer arguably gives away too much, so the less one knows, the better.)
The final stretch, by contrast, veers into more familiar thriller territory, and feels especially rushed toward the end, leaving behind a host of nagging, unanswered questions. That provides food for thought, but it’s also what separates the movie from something like “Get Out,” which deftly fleshed out its horror underpinnings.
Although the filmmakers (in a taped message) expressed disappointment that the movie wasn’t making its debut in theaters, in a strange way, the on-demand format somewhat works in its favor. In the press notes, Bush says the goal was “to force the audience to look at the real-life horror of racism through the lens of film horror. We’re landing in the middle of the very conversations that we hoped ‘Antebellum’ would spur.”
“Antebellum” should add to that discussion, so mission accomplished on that level. Monae is also quite good in her first leading film role (she did previously star in the series “Homecoming’s” second season), but otherwise, most of the characters remain underdeveloped.