Weinstein Reportage Drama ‘She Said’ Premieres in New York

NEW YORK (AP) — Five years after being revealed, a film that dramatizes the uphill struggle to uncover years of allegations against the movie mogul premiered Thursday at the New York Film Festival.

The film stars Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan as New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, who helped uncover the numerous allegations against Weinstein. When news of their impending relationship first broke through Variety, Weinstein at the time…

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NEW YORK (AP) — Five years after being revealed, a film that dramatizes the uphill struggle to uncover years of allegations against the movie mogul premiered Thursday at the New York Film Festival.

The film stars Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan as New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, who helped uncover the numerous allegations against Weinstein. When news of their impending relationship was first leaked by Variety, Weinstein then commented, “The story sounds so good, I want to buy the movie rights.”

Instead, the film that would become “She Said” was adapted from the investigation. It took place Thursday at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, with many women present to tell their stories, including Ashley Judd. Weinstein, meanwhile, is up for 11 counts of rape and sexual assault. He pleaded not guilty.

Weinstein, 70, is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence after being convicted in 2020 of committing a criminal sex act and third-degree rape.

One of the film’s many loudest standing ovations was for Judd, whose official story led The Times’ first report and whose bravery encouraged many others to speak out. Other women who came forward were also in the audience. Judd plays herself in the film.

“I just want to remember when I was talking to my mom about all this, she was like, ‘Oh, you go get them, honey,’ Judd said in onstage conversation after the movie, recalling his dad was with after his 1996 meeting with Weinstein at the Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel “When I came down from the hotel room, he knew something devastating had just happened to me by the look on my face.”

“It was very empowering that someone finally wanted to listen and do something about it,” Judd added. “The movie was the next step in that.”

The fact that “She Said” premiered in New York at a festival Weinstein attended made the evening particularly poignant. Eugene Hernandez, the festival’s executive director, noted that “this is a room that Harvey Weinstein has been in.”

The film was also the subject of Weinstein’s current lawsuit. During preliminary hearings, Weinstein’s lawyers asked that the trial be delayed due to the release of “She Said”, arguing that this could influence jurors. Universal Pictures will open “She Said” in theaters on November 18. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench denied the motion.

But the array of women on stage – including the stars, Times reporters, director Maria Schrader and screenwriter Rebecca Lenkiewicz – made a powerful statement. “She Said” follows the highs and lows of Kantor and Twohey’s persistent investigation, battling a decades-old wall of silence, a litany of NDAs, and Weinstein’s own belligerent responses.

“The number of people who shared information with us was relatively small, and yet their impact was so great,” Kantor said. “We hope this film will help people remember that these personal stories can really make a huge difference.”

The Times’ reports on Weinstein, along with those of The New Yorker, were the catalyst not only for Weinstein’s dramatic downfall, but which spread to Hollywood and many other industries.

‘She Said’ follows the tradition of investigative journalism films like ‘All the President’s Men’ and ‘Spotlight’, with the notable difference that its protagonists are women balancing their professional lives 24/7 with their young families. The film is careful to show journalists as hard-working professionals, not so different from the ambitious young women Weinstein fed on.

Kazan took a moment to reflect on what has changed in Hollywood over the past five years. There is now and a more open conversation about gender imbalance. But, she says, “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,” Kazan said. “It’s not unique to our industry.”

Judd added that thanks to the SAG-Aftra agreements, auditions no longer take place in hotel rooms. But she also pointed out that something deeper has changed in women.

“I reframed the experiences I had to understand that it was actually harassment and assault, something I had previously downplayed,” Judd said. “I think the individual transformation that many of us have had as a result of what Tarana started and as a result of this reporting, has allowed women’s consciousness to transform and set boundaries and take back their self-reliance and say, ‘This is the good news.’

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Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

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