He wasn’t in­ter­ested in me be­cause, let’s be hon­est, I was a mid­dle-aged, frumpy wo­man and he was af­ter young, beau­ti­ful girls

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - FRONT PAGE - UN­WANTED OVER­TURES Veiled threats: We­in­stein

The Hol­ly­wood Re­porter doc­u­mented We­in­stein’s ef­forts to get Car­ney on board. He got to the Pa­tria be­fore the di­rec­tor and its star, Keira Knight­ley, had left the the­atre where the film had had its world premier. “Like a lion stalk­ing his prey, We­in­stein was pa­tient,” wrote the trade jour­nal. “When Car­ney ar­rived and sat down in his booth, We­in­stein swooped in, start­ing a con­ver­sa­tion that lasted 90 min­utes, ac­cord­ing to mul­ti­ple sources.”

Other pro­duc­ers were keen to bend Car­ney’s ear too, but to no avail. “Lion­s­gate/Sum­mit troika Rob Fried­man, Pa­trick Wachs­berger and Erik Feig walked up to the booth and saw We­in­stein chat­ting with Car­ney,” the re­port con­tin­ued. “They waited pa­tiently. And waited. Fi­nally, Fried­man had had enough. ‘Hey, are you get­ting mar­ried, or are you go­ing to let some­one else have a turn?’ he asked We­in­stein in front of the as­sem­bled crowd. We­in­stein con­tin­ued talk­ing un­de­terred. ‘He wasn’t go­ing to let any­one else get John,’ one wit­ness tells THR.’”

We­in­stein’s love-bomb­ing paid off. He won the rights for the US dis­tri­bu­tion of the film — later to be re­named Be­gin Again — for $7m and com­mit­ted a fur­ther $20m to pro­mote the film. He spent the re­main­der of the night cel­e­brat­ing his suc­cess at a rooftop party in the Thomp­son ho­tel.

For many years, such sto­ries were le­gion about We­in­stein. He was an all-pow­er­ful fig­ure who could get what he wanted. But in re­cent weeks, he has also been al­leged to have been a preda­tor who tar­geted im­pres­sion­able young fe­male ac­tors. One af­ter an­other, they have lined up to talk about his un­wanted over­tures, sala­cious talk, de­mands for sex and thinly veiled threats that re­fusal to in­dulge his de­sires could de­stroy ca­reers. Gwyneth Pal­trow and An­gelina Jolie are among the house­hold names to make se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions against We­in­stein — and ev­ery day brings fresh re­ports.

Brenda Fricker says she was not in the least bit sur­prised. film on the life and times of dis­abled Ir­ish writer Christy Brown, yielded We­in­stein his first Best Pic­ture nom­i­na­tion at the Os­cars. “And I gave him his first Os­car,” Fricker says, point­ing out that Daniel Day-Lewis won the Best Ac­tor cat­e­gory but that came to­wards the end of the cer­e­mony, and long af­ter she had got the stat­uette for Best Sup­port­ing Ac­tress. For years, We­in­stein boasted that his net­work­ing prow­ess had helped de­liver Os­car glory for My Left Foot, and it’s true that his ‘guer­rilla’ cam­paign of set­ting up ‘meet-and-greets’ between Academy mem­bers and tal­ent from the movie un­doubt­edly helped its cause. “Well, that was his job,” Fricker says, “but there were times when you’d ask your­self what it was ex­actly that he did. He cer­tainly ex­uded an air of some­one who was very im­por­tant and there was an aw­ful lot of arse-lick­ing around him, although I cer­tainly didn’t do that, and nei­ther did Ray McAnally or some of the other mem­bers of the cast. “But there re­ally was some­thing re­pul­sive about him and he would have been very aware of my dis­like for him.” Her com­ments are echoed Fionnula Flana­gan, an­other vet­eran Ir­ish ac­tress who has crossed paths with him. This week, she told RTÉ’s Live­line that the “creep” pro­ducer has long been a fig­ure of no­to­ri­ety in the movie busi­ness. “By the time I worked on The Oth­ers and Transamer­ica, I was no longer a 20-yearold ac­tress and it seems to be it was with ac­tresses when they were young that he be­haved so ap­pallingly,” she said. “He was sort of re­pul­sive in his be­hav- iour to­wards women and that was well known. It was an open se­cret.”

Over the course of his ca­reer We­in­stein had an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer role in more than 300 films, many of them Os­car win­ners such as The English Pa­tient and Shake­speare in Love (which shocked many by win­ning the Best Pic­ture over Steven Spiel­berg’s hotly tipped Sav­ing Pri­vate Ryan). But, like My Left Foot, a hand­ful of Ir­ish films would come to be seen as im­por­tant on We­in­stein’s CV.

One of the most sig­nif­i­cant was The Cry­ing Game, di­rected by Neil Jor­dan. It earned We­in­stein his sec­ond Best Pic­ture nom­i­na­tion, and helped to con­vince many in Hol­ly­wood that We­in­stein truly was a king­maker. Af­ter the crit­i­cal and com­mer­cial suc­cess of the film — which starred Stephen Rea — Dis­ney of­fered We­in­stein $80m for the own­er­ship of Mi­ra­max.

It was a per­fect deal for the mogul as it al­lowed him and Bob to con­tinue to run the com­pany — and they en­joyed most of their great­est suc­cess from the mid-90s to the early-2000s. He pro­duced some of the big­gest films of the era — in­clud­ing Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fic­tion — but also bought the dis­tri­bu­tion rights for a num­ber of Ir­ish films in­clud­ing the Gerry Stem­bridge-di­rected About Adam, which starred Stu­art Townsend.

Af­ter part­ing ways with Mi­ra­max, he es­tab­lished the We­in­stein Com­pany in 2005, and con­tin­ued to en­joy suc­cess with such films as The Reader, The King’s Speech and The Artist. The lat­ter pair won Best Pic­ture Os­cars.

More re­cently, he has been in­volved with an­other John Car­ney film, the crit­i­cally ac­claimed Dublin-set Sing Street.

Whether or not the 65-year-old can make a come­back from a long litany of mis­con­duct al­le­ga­tions re­mains to be seen. But Brenda Fricker be­lieves there’s no way back. “It was evil be­hav­iour,” she says. “Don’t for­get that — and it’s part of the ug­li­ness of Hol­ly­wood. It’s hor­ri­ble to see that sort of ex­ploita­tion and I’m very glad to be out of it all.”

Self-right­eous Hol­ly­wood roy­alty happy to stay quiet on the We­in­stein scan­dal hap­pen­ing right at their doorstep — Ian O’Do­herty, p10

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