In the wake of Weinstein, #MeToo and the Time’s Up movement, how do directors respond when their actors are faced with harassment allegations?
A new era is dawning for women everywhere, and it started in Hollywood. In this ‘woke’ –so to speak – time where social media is our key currency to get our voices heard, it was one two-word hashtag that empowered women everywhere to break their silence.
That hashtag was #MeToo, and as actress Alyssa Milano urged women to share their experiences of harassment and assault, it turned out that this was the tip of the iceberg.
None were so vocal as Hollywood’s women: Jennifer Lawrence and Reese Witherspoon came forward, prompting others to follow.
And at the recent Golden Globes, held in a Hollywood reeling from the accusations against Harvey Weinstein, the attendees did something unprecedented.
With stars dressed in black, it was both a protest at an industry complicit in supporting a culture of harassment and gender disparity, and a nod of support to the resulting #MeToo and Time’s Up movements that aim to change the score.
As cases continue to stack up against Hollywood’s elite, it seems that the industry is left with a dilemma: When one of their own is implicated, what should they do? It’s a question that was hotly debated when it emerged that Johnny Depp was to reprise his role as Grindelwald in director David Yates’ second instalment of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them despite accusations of domestic violence from ex-wife Amber Heard.
When faced with the same issue, Ridley Scott, director of upcoming film All the Money in the World, set for release in the UAE on 25th January, had a different reaction.
As allegations surfaced surrounding star Kevin Spacey, Scott immediately began a $10 million (AED 36 million) reshoot of his 22 scenes with replacement Christopher Plummer.
Based on a true story, the movie follows the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III, and his mother’s desperate attempt to get him back when his oil tycoon grandfather (originally played by Spacey) refuses to pay the ransom fee.
And it seems Scott was fairly decisive in the need to recast; it only took him an hour after learning the news.
“I sat and thought about it and realised, we cannot,” he told Entertainment Weekly.
“You can’t tolerate any kind of behaviour like that. We cannot let one person’s action affect the good work of all these other people. It’s that simple.”
His quick decision led him to receive plaudits from lead actress Michelle Williams, who recently found herself at the centre of Hollywood’s gender disparity debate when she was paid just $1,000 (AED 3,600) for the reshoots, while co-star Mark Wahlberg scooped $1.5 million (AED 3.6 million) – which he later donated to the Time’s Up cause.
“When this idea was hatched, I immediately started to feel better,” Michelle said. “This doesn’t do anything to ease the suffering of people personally affected by Kevin Spacey, but it is our little act of trying to right a wrong. And it sends a message to predators — you can’t get away with this anymore. Something will be done.”
Also starring: Charlie Plummer, Romain Duris and Timothy Hutton
Running time: 132min
WORDS Camille Hogg