In a shocking story in The New York Times today, Uma Thurman details sexual assaults at the hands of Harvey Weinstein. She had alluded in a previous interview that she had a story to tell, and today she delivers it. She also accused her former agency CAA of being “connected to Weinstein’s predatory behavior” (though she does not elaborate beyond that statement) and she accuses Quentin Tarantino of not doing enough to protect her from an accident during the making of Kill Bill, after she was forced to drive a car on a sandy twisty road for a scene — she gave the footage of the crash to Maureen Dowd and you can watch it in the article. I just read a terrific piece Dowd did with Tim Robbins, in which he details his own feelings about Weinstein and Miramax, but it was a whimsical, funny exchange between a smart activist actor and a fine writer. Her exchange with Thurman is the kind of piece that leaves you feeling a bit dead inside, realizing that such things could have happened to a star of Thurman’s magnitude, with the mogul, when their career highs were so intertwined with Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill.
In the article, posted online today and running in tomorrow’s print edition, Thurman described being assaulted by an unnamed actor 20 years older than her when she was 16, and she not only details Weinstein’s predations toward her, but her lingering memory of staying silent for so long. Thurman laments her inability to come forward about these traumatic situations put other young women in danger.
“The complicated feeling I have about Harvey is how bad I feel about all the women that were attacked after I was…I am one of the reasons that a young girl would walk into his room alone, the way I did,” she tells Dowd. “Quentin used Harvey as the executive producer of ‘Kill Bill,’ a movie that symbolizes female empowerment. And all these lambs walked into slaughter because they were convinced nobody rises to such a position who would do something illegal to you, but they do.”
Weinstein has long denied allegations of non-consensual sex, and he through spokesmen explains himself in the article, which will be a must read piece this weekend in Hollywood.
A snippet of the article:
The first “attack,” she says, came not long after in Weinstein’s suite at the Savoy Hotel in London. “It was such a bat to the head. He pushed me down. He tried to shove himself on me. He tried to expose himself. He did all kinds of unpleasant things. But he didn’t actually put his back into it and force me. You’re like an animal wriggling away, like a lizard. I was doing anything I could to get the train back on the track. My track. Not his track.”
She was staying in Fulham with her friend, Ilona Herman, Robert De Niro’s longtime makeup artist, who later worked with Thurman on “Kill Bill.”
“The next day to her house arrived a 26-inch-wide vulgar bunch of roses,” Thurman says. “They were yellow. And I opened the note like it was a soiled diaper and it just said, ‘You have great instincts.’” Then, she says, Weinstein’s assistants started calling again to talk about projects.
She thought she could confront him and clear it up, but she took Herman with her and asked Weinstein to meet her in the Savoy bar. The assistants had their own special choreography to lure actresses into the spider’s web and they pressured Thurman, putting Weinstein on the phone to again say it was a misunderstanding and “we have so many projects together.” Finally she agreed to go upstairs, while Herman waited on a settee outside the elevators.
Once the assistants vanished, Thurman says, she warned Weinstein, “If you do what you did to me to other people you will lose your career, your reputation and your family, I promise you.” Her memory of the incident abruptly stops there.
Through a representative, Weinstein, who is in therapy in Arizona, agreed that “she very well could have said this.”
Downstairs, Herman was getting nervous. “It seemed to take forever,” the friend told me. Finally, the elevator doors opened and Thurman walked out. “She was very disheveled and so upset and had this blank look,” Herman recalled. “Her eyes were crazy and she was totally out of control. I shoveled her into the taxi and we went home to my house. She was really shaking.” Herman said that when the actress was able to talk again, she revealed that Weinstein had threatened to derail her career.
Weinstein denied the claims today in a statement released along with photos of himself and Thurman he says indicate a “strong relationship.”
‘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.