She Said Stars Praise Women For Speaking Up Against Harvey Weinstein
She Said is a follow-up to the exhaustive and time-consuming investigation that was conducted by journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, which helped to intensify the #MeToo movement that was already underway. She Said stars praise women who spoke out against Harvey Weinstein.
Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey are the actors who portray real-life individuals in movies and are required to maintain a certain level of sensitivity at all times.
However, because of the nature of the subject matter, this sentiment was amplified even further with regard to both the journalists and the various women who accused Weinstein.
She Said is based on the long, careful investigation done by journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, which helped the #MeToo movement grow.
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When actors play real people in movies, they always have to be careful. But since the story was about Weinstein, this feeling was even stronger for both the journalists and the many women who accused him. Carey Mulligan, who plays Twohey, says,
[I felt] a huge amount of responsibility towards the subjects of the film and towards everyone who contributed to the original story. The fact that it was these two women, with a collection of incredibly courageous survivors and witnesses, that ran this story that really changed the world. I think that deserved a place in history. I loved the idea of being able to cement that in people's minds that it was Megan and Jodi and incredible survivors and witnesses who made this possible.
- Megan Twohey
Zoe Kazan, who plays Kantor, says, "We felt this enormous responsibility to tell the story conscientiously," The actress wants both the bravery of the women and the determination of the journalists to get a lot of attention.
Right now. It feels like an inevitability that Harvey Weinstein would be brought down because of his behavior. But in 2017 when they were putting the story together [it] was anything but.
- Zoe Kazan
She Said has been talked about as a possible Oscar contender, like All the President's Men and Spotlight, which are also about investigative journalism.
But critics have said different things about the movie, which is directed by Maria Schrader. Robbie Collin of The Telegraph gave the movie two stars. "Good journalism doesn't always make for exciting movies," he wrote, adding that She Said "sometimes feels like an HR investigation turned into a movie."
Charlotte O'Sullivan's four-star review for the Evening Standard was more positive. She called the movie a "marvel" and gave it a score of 3.5.
It's not smug or preachy and gives space to the non-glamorous figures, Excellent performances bring out the best in this David and Goliath story that reverberated around the world.
- Charlotte O'Sullivan
But the movie's first weekend in the US was a huge disappointment, as it only made $2.2 million (£1.9 million). Variety called the box office earnings "dismal" and said that She Said "ranks as one of the worst results for a major studio release in history."
The movie could be another example of how audiences and award voters are getting more and more different. The movie shows how "responsible" the journalists felt when they broke such a big story. Kazan remembers how tense it was when she and Twohey were getting it ready to be published.
People who are vulnerable are entrusting you with these stories and you're just terrified of making a mistake. And then you know, once we saw the impact that the story was having, we felt even more responsibility because the stakes just kept going up. After we published women all around the world start coming forward and we're looking at it going, 'oh my God'. The stakes are even higher than we knew.
- Zoe Kazan
At the time, #MeToo seemed to have a huge and immediate effect. Weinstein, who has consistently denied any non-consensual sexual contact, was convicted in a trial in New York. He's currently on trial in Los Angeles and is also facing charges in the UK.
In those first hours and days after the story was published, our emails and our phones were flooded with other women who were coming forward with their own stories of abuse and harassment. And not just in Hollywood but in all different professions, from all different walks of life. And to watch the #MeToo movement go viral, and for so many survivors to take to social media to share their own stories was just incredible to observe. A really, really significant cultural shift that Jodi and I could feel almost immediately.
- Megan Twohey
But people have wondered if there would be more widespread and long-lasting change. Kazan says that there has been in the movie business.
There are undeniable changes. I mean really concrete things like having an intimacy coordinator on set for any scene that requires that kind of work. That said, we have so we have so far to go and I think that one of the reasons to make a film like this is to show how change happens. And that it happens incrementally and with a tremendous amount of work and and a tremendous amount of bravery behind it.
- Zoe Kazan
Speaking before the film opening, Carey Mulligan says:
From my layman's perspective, the most important impact, thus far, of the #MeToo movement being propelled by the story is the channels of communication that have been opened up for people to talk about things. I don't think it was as easy for men and women to talk about experiences like this five years ago. And I think that can only be a positive step in continuing this conversation. I don't know if films can change the world. But I do think art plays a part, and telling a story in a different way that perhaps is accessible to people is a part of it.
- Carey Mulligan
"She Said," which had its world premiere at the London Film Festival on Friday, stars Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan as the award-winning journalists who broke the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal.
The film is based on the 2019 book of the same name, which details the investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct made against Weinstein by the New York Times. Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, portrayed by Mulligan and Kazan, respectively, are the authors and Pulitzer Prize winners of the novel.