Five years later New York Times journalists Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor released their bombshell report on decades of Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse, the movie version of their journey into the story has arrived.
In She said, Carey Mulligan stars as Twohey with Zoe Kazan as Kantor, illustrating the months of reporting and conversations with survivors that would lead to the launch of the #MeToo movement. After debuting at the New York Film Festival last month, the Universal film was screened Friday at the AFI Fest in Los Angeles.
“I’m so interested in the psyche of someone who can call someone in the middle of the day and ask them the worst thing that ever happened to them, that they can gain that person’s trust and then pass it on to the world,” Mulligan told The Hollywood Reporter to get inside the head of a journalist. “I’m just not made for that.”
The actress took on the project shortly after she starred in (and received an Oscar nomination for) another film about sexual assault. Promising young woman, and said she was in the midst of the awards season promotion when she was sent the script. “They didn’t feel similar to me, they were such different stories,” Mulligan said of the two projects. “Promising young woman was such a dark fairytale and this felt very, very real. It touches on similar issues that feel very sensitive, but they felt like polar opposites in terms of style and character and everything.”
Apart from the two stars, She said also features several of Weinstein’s survivors in on-screen roles, including Ashley Judd, who plays herself when she tells her story to the journalists and allows them to mention her in their story.
To have survivors’ involvement” was just extraordinary, and I think our biggest goal was for Megan and Jodi to walk away feeling good about this and [the survivors] if you do that, the job is kind of done,” said Mulligan. “The way they were involved and consulted about the script all the way through, I think was key to our desire to do it.”
Director Maria Schrader said Judd was actually the first person she physically met during the project, as they were both in Berlin during the pandemic. After reading the script, one of Schrader’s first questions to producer Dede Gardner was, “So, is Ashley playing herself?”
“It was clear to me that Ashley Judd playing Ashley Judd and telling her own story in her own words is something extraordinary,” said Schrader. “It’s like a different kind of reality that suddenly enters the film; it’s a bit like breaking down the fourth wall in the theater.”
Kantor said that when I watched Judd sit down in real life with her on-screen alter ego, “I’m just so glad I have a little more company [via the audience] in what started out as a bunch of pretty secretive conversations.” She added: “I think Ashley playing herself in this film represents something very important about the project, which is that we want you, the viewer, to feel enveloped in the experience, to have a chance to listen to these stories. , to enter the walls of the New York Times.”
Weinstein survivor Sarah Ann Masse also has a part in the film, which she landed after calling Universal to ask if they would include survivors and offer the help of her “Hire Survivors Hollywood” initiative, and she eventually got it. offered an audition.
“I had lost a lot of time in my career because of what Harvey did to me; I’ve faced direct retaliation for the past five years and it’s slowed down,” Masse said. “As soon as I walked on the set, I immediately felt at home. It was my first big studio movie, and today I’m here at the Chinese Theater at the premiere of this huge movie that I’m in, and it’s really healing. It is poetic justice; it feels like the beginning of the life i should have always had and i’m just excited about the new opportunities to come. ”
The film’s release also coincides with Weinstein’s criminal trial in LA, “which I think is just a reminder that this is underway,” explains Masse. “This is not linear, and sexual violence is so ingrained in our culture and there are many different avenues to find healing and find change and develop it. I am so thankful for the women who are taking part in this trial; it takes so much courage.”
Co-star Patricia Clarkson, who noted that she had “worked with Harvey and was bullied by Harvey,” said the timing of the film and the trial is “appropriate and divine.” Gesturing across the carpet, she added, “Look at us, we’re all in power. They’re women from start to finish and we’re powerful, we’re all beautiful, we’re all strong, we’re all in a better place. And he’s in jail.”
She said arrives in theaters on November 18.