Ok ….time to comment on the sorry Harvey Weinstein situation.
To start….I am very sorry for the poor people who have suffered at the hands of this awful man. There is no excuse for this kind of behaviour, but how did a man with such monstrous habits, become one of the strongest supporters of the indie film industry and have the good taste to distribute and promote so many wonderful films? ‘Twas ever thus”, history tells us.
And I do deplore each and every one of the publicists who advised their clients to jump on the band wagon and grab as much publicity from this story as they could. “ Time to get your name/face out there again!” And sad….. the clients who took this advice.
All that being said and just so that there is no doubt, this kind of predatory behaviour is not limited to the entertainment industry and we do NOT all have to sleep with a Producer/Director/Suit/ Exec in the Business to get a job. I never have and there are plenty of others like me. Oh, we may all have had to go through a casting couch proposal, but there does exist a tiny word…. “no”…. and common sense warns you not to go to interviews alone, at odd hours in hotel rooms, when you know that you will only be meeting one person.
At the opening of a recent film I did, I was asked by the mother of the ingenue and budding actress, “Who do I/she have to sleep with to get her career going in Hollywood and make her star?” Irritated and mildly insulted I replied “no-one”…but clearly this was her perception of the industry and the inference was there…you only “made” it as an actor by sleeping with the right power broker. This is ignorant and arrant nonsense.. if you dont have:
2.The desire and determination to work hard
4. Love for the work you are doing
5 A lot of luck
you can sleep with whomever you like and you still won’t get there. And if you only want to be in the business to be famous and make money, don’t bother.
Rumours have now surfaced about Michael Winner and before anyone asks…he never propositioned me, so I have no idea if he was sexual predator. I got the wonderful part in the film The System,because his first choice: Julie Christie wasn’t available, but I was available and had some talent. Michael is now dead and can’t face his accusers…he wasn’t the easiest man in the world and disliked by many, but he did choose the best talent, crew and cast, he could get to work on his films…..he had asked the Beatles to do the music and appear in “The System”, but they had just hit the heights with their first number one: “ Love Me Do” and were by then out of reach, so he got the group The Shadows ( not bad!) And Michael was mentored by one serious talent in our business: the wonderful Director: Lewis Gilbert.
Oliver Reed and me in “The System”
And now to come back to the media, print and now online and what they will do to get a story, especially one, that will run and run and the Weinstein story is one of those. And we know that the Media will exploit, with the willing co-operation of the PR machine, (such an important ingredient of the entertainment business), anyone they can get in their sights. My mother and stepfather worked in the newspaper business and I saw much of it first hand and what it takes to keep grinding out those stories that will make us buy and buy in. Recently I saw in London, the wonderful play INK….which is so representative of the Press and what it takes to build and sell a newspaper. I visited the newsroom of the Daily Mail many times as a kid and this play presents it brilliantly and accurately. If you can….see it.
Bertie Carvel and Richard Coyle in Ink. Photo by Mark Brenner.
Just my thoughts on this story, which again gives the entertainment industry a tawdry image, but there are so many other industries with a similar culture….. they just don’t have the added appeal of famous names.
Despite that…entertainment is and can be an extraordinary business and I still love being part of it.