Sorvino re­counts hor­rors of Hol­ly­wood

Winnipeg Free Press - - NEWS - MARIA PUENTE

ORDID tales of Hol­ly­wood hor­rors past con­tinue to spool out, the most re­cent from Os­car-win­ner Mira Sorvino, who says she lost roles for re­fus­ing to sub­mit to sex in ex­change, and once was gagged with a con­dom dur­ing an au­di­tion when she was 16.

In an in­ter­view for the Hol­ly­wood For­eign Press As­so­ci­a­tion’s pod­cast, In Con­ver­sa­tion, to pro­mote her new projects, in­clud­ing the Au­di­ence Net­work’s drama se­ries Con­dor, Sorvino, 50, talked about Har­vey We­in­stein’s crim­i­nal case, her re­grets about work­ing with Woody Allen, how Hol­ly­wood and the coun­try have changed since the #MeToo move­ment she helped spread, and her ac­tivism in push­ing for leg­is­la­tion in Cal­i­for­nia aimed at coun­ter­ing sex­ual ha­rass­ment and abuse.

The mother of four also ex­pressed dis­may about the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies, es­pe­cially sep­a­rat­ing kids from their par­ents at the bor­der.

Sorvino was among the first ac­cusers of We­in­stein, the fallen movie mogul (now un­der crim­i­nal in­dict­ment) she says black­listed her from fu­ture roles for re­sist­ing his ad­vances.

Now she’s con­tin­u­ing to speak out about the cast­ing-couch men­tal­ity that ruled Hol­ly­wood in her youth. She said she lost mul­ti­ple roles be­cause she wouldn’t jump on the couch when de­mands were made by di­rec­tors or cast­ing agents.

“Di­rec­tors pres­sur­ing you to have re­la­tion­ships with them, peo­ple cast­ing you say­ing if you have a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with them they’ll give you the part,” she said. “That has hap­pened to me sev­eral times... I’ve had friends who were told, ‘You’re go­ing to ab­so­lutely have to have sex with all kinds of peo­ple to ad­vance your ca­reer.’ “

She al­ways re­fused and lost out on roles as a re­sult, she said.

She di­rectly ac­cused a ma­jor Os­car-win­ning di­rec­tor she de­scribed as “known for his so­cial jus­tice profile” but wouldn’t name him or his movies or when her en­counter with him hap­pened.

“(He) lit­er­ally said to me at a very end-stage au­di­tion meet­ing, ‘You know, as I look at you my mind can’t help but trav­el­ling from the artis­tic pos­si­bil­i­ties to the sex­ual.’ I think my mouth just opened and my si­lence was deaf­en­ing,” she re­called. She re­fused to go along. “I know for a fact that’s why I didn’t get that part.”

Her most shock­ing story in­volves an au­di­tion for a hor­ror movie when she was 16 and not yet old enough to fully un­der­stand how Hol­ly­wood worked. She says she was treated “in­ap­pro­pri­ately” by a cast­ing di­rec­tor at an au­di­tion for a hor­ror movie. She says he tied her to a chair, bruised her arm and gagged her.

“And I was all game be­cause I’m try­ing to be scared for the scene,” she said. “And at the end, he takes the gag out of my mouth and he says, sorry for the pro­phy­lac­tic... That was one of my in­tro­duc­tions to how the act­ing sys­tem works.”

At that age, she didn’t ques­tion much. She as­sumed she had to be tough, she had to be “down to re­ally per­form.” She didn’t re­al­ize the abu­sive na­ture of the “act­ing sys­tem” un­til much later.

“I was too young to even know, thank God, what a con­dom tasted like. It was so in­ap­pro­pri­ate, and what the heck was a cast­ing di­rec­tor do­ing with a con­dom in his pocket in an au­di­tion?”

Sorvino, who won an Os­car for her role in Allen’s 1995 film, Mighty Aphrodite, now wishes she had looked fur­ther into the al­le­ga­tions against him by his daugh­ter Dy­lan Far­row, 33, who ac­cuses her fa­ther of mo­lest­ing her when she was seven. (He has ve­he­mently de­nied this. Her al­le­ga­tions were in­ves­ti­gated years ago; charges were never filed.)

“I have since got­ten to know Dy­lan and I be­lieve her,” Sorvino says. “She’s a won­der­ful per­son and I think she’s been ma­ligned for a long time... We can’t just wish away with cog­ni­tive dis­so­nance the fact that our he­roes are ca­pa­ble of do­ing some­thing heinous, and (Allen) was my hero.”

Sorvino said she re­cently vis­ited the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der with other ac­tivists and celebri­ties in­clud­ing Lena Dunham and Sia. She said she was hor­ri­fied by the “shame­ful” con­di­tions at the de­ten­tion cen­tres where par­ents and their chil­dren have been separated.

“I know peo­ple don’t like it when you make equiv­a­len­cies be­tween things that hap­pened in the Third Re­ich, but there are cer­tain par­al­lels that can’t be de­nied... our con­sti­tu­tional democ­racy is erod­ing,” she said.

But she said the #MeToo move­ment, joined by “mil­lions and mil­lions,” is help­ing to change at­ti­tudes in Hol­ly­wood and the cul­ture at large.

“All of a sud­den ev­ery­one in the gen­eral pub­lic re­al­izes the prob­lem is so much more wide­spread than any­one ever thought be­cause no one would ever talk about it” due to fear and em­bar­rass­ment.

“It’s a hor­ri­ble me­mory and most (vic­tims) would like to keep it se­cret if they had their druthers, but be­cause of this move­ment, so many sur­vivors are fi­nally let­ting this out into the light and they’re join­ing this com­mu­nity that says no more of this.”

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ABACA PRESS FILES

Mira Sorvino was among the first ac­cusers of Har­vey We­in­stein.

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