It’s been five years New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor finally publicized what many in Hollywood knew privately: Oscar-winning producer Harvey Weinstein had a decades-long pattern of sexual harassment allegations that involved high-profile stars like Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan. Following their first blockbuster story on October 5, 2017, the duo continued to denounce Weinstein’s various crimes as the former Miramax head began a lengthy New York trial that ended with a guilty verdict and a 23-year prison sentence. (He is currently on trial in Los Angeles on charges of sexual assault.)
On the fifth anniversary of the beginning of Weinstein’s demise – which sparked the pre-existing #MeToo movement – moviegoers can revisit how the journalists cracked the case She saida powerful dramatization of their 2019 book. Directed by Maria Schrader and starring Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan as Twohey and Kantor respectively, the film arrives in theaters as many in the industry take stock of how far along we are come, or not, since the story first came out.
For the record, Mulligan thinks Hollywood is a different place in 2022 than it was in 2017.
“Concrete changes have happened,” the Oscar-nominated actress tells Yahoo Entertainment. “There are now things like intimacy coordinators, anti-harassment workshops and code of conduct before shooting a movie. All those things are here for good now and I think that’s crucial. We talk a lot about how crazy it is that none of it existed before! And all those things are the result of this story.’
Interestingly, Kazan first became aware of sexual harassment in Hollywood in the summer of 2017 — months before the Weinstein story broke. “A journalist asked me about sexual harassment… and I had never been asked about it,” she says, referring to a profile published in The protector. “It didn’t really occur to me that it’s something I should be nervous about talking about. I wasn’t talking about a specific situation, but it just seemed like such an obvious part, not just of my experience in the industry , but a woman’s period of experience. You only have to look at how little girls are talked about consent to understand that it is something that is ubiquitous.”
Kazan, who until recently had an active Twitter feed, recalls at the time being bombarded by online trolls for her comments. But she also knew that her words had struck a chord. “My dad told me that the teenage girls who lived next door had talked to him and said how meaningful it was for me to talk about this. That really helped overcome the fear I had about speaking out. In 2022 it will be very easy to look back and think that it was inevitable that Harvey Weinstein would face some consequences for his actions but I don’t think it was totally inevitable it took incredible courage and incredible willingness for these two women to put themselves and putting their reputation on the line.”
While Weinstein is in prison and likely to remain there for the rest of his life, other high-profile Hollywood personalities accused of sexual harassment and abuse are making their way back to work, including Louis CK, James Franco, and Kevin Spacey. The men at the center of those stories have either avoided having their cases taken to court or, as in the case of Spacey, have been tried and found not liable. Asked if Hollywood should provide consequences for known abusers and bullies when the justice system can’t, She said co-star Patricia Clarkson — who plays Rebecca Corbett, the New York Times editor who oversaw the Weinstein story – suggests those actors will never really be part of the industry again.
“They may find their way back, but I don’t think they’ll ever really come back,” says Clarkson. “In Hollywood, the blows are too heavy now; I don’t think many people can survive those blows. There are also so many good people in our industry who have to work and are better people. Why are we trying to resuscitate men who have committed crimes “Why, when we have so many good people in our industry to rely on and move forward with? Let’s keep this ship going, let’s keep it balanced, and let’s keep equality where it is.”
“I do believe in forgiveness, but I think some of these men are unforgivable because it took so long,” Clarkson continues. “It wasn’t like a night or a moment in their career; this was a repetitive, repetitive behavior that many people approved of in their lives. No more — no more.”
It is worth noting that a specific aspect of She said is representative of the challenges facing the entertainment industry as it attempts to chart a course through the #MeToo landscape. Brad Pitt is one of the film’s credited producers, and the Once upon a time in Hollywood star is currently facing allegations of sexual assault from his ex-wife, Angelina Jolie, in 2016. Asked if Pitt’s involvement in the film speaks to the complexities of where Hollywood is today, Schrader agrees that today’s realities in the industry ” complicated”.
“I have to say that one of the many reasons I’m so proud to be a part of this project is that it doesn’t shy away from its complexity,” says the filmmaker. “I think we’ve all learned a lot in the last five years, and we all have the opportunity to change perspectives. Hollywood and its studios and its powerful corporations have a duty to take on projects that are in a social conversation and not to be shy.” away from them. This is what we expect from the film industry: to talk about things, even if they are complex and delicate. “
Beyond the impact on Hollywood, Twohey and Kantor’s reporting represented a major win for journalism — an industry battered and bruised by corporate takeovers, tough economic times, and the relentless criticism of politicians like former President Donald Trump. Just like its cinematic predecessors – Alan J. Pakula’s 1976 classic All the president’s men and Tom McCarthy’s 2015 Oscar winner Spotlight — She said reminds moviegoers how impressively carefully reported news stories can be, especially at a time when distrust in the media is rampant.
“Documentation is what’s important,” notes Andre Braugher, who plays former New York Times editor-in-chief Dean Baquet. “One of the themes of the film is that without documentation it becomes a ‘he said, she said’ story. “We live in an opinion driven world. The effort to discover and disseminate facts is paramount to our democracy, period.”
“The film shows what collective action can achieve when backed by an institution like The New York Timesends Mulligan. “It was really eye opening to see the incredibly high standards that a place like the Time has in terms of how they report. The film shows wonderfully how much it takes to tell a story like this, and that words really matter and truth really matters.”
She said premieres in theaters on November 18