The bombshell New York Times report that took down serial sexual abuser Harvey Weinstein will be immortalized in the upcoming film She Said, directed by Maria Schrader. A new trailer, reminiscent of Spotlight, depicts the tense journey to get the full, shocking story on the record.
Carey Mulligan and Zoey Kazan star as Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, respectively, in this adaptation of the journalists’ book of the same name. The trailer follows the two women down the rabbit hole as they uncover the truth and struggle to hold onto it at the same time, encountering obstacles–NDAs, anxious sources, literal doors slammed in their faces–at every turn. Rounding out the cast are Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, Samantha Morton, Jennifer Ehle, Tom Pelphrey and Adam Shapiro.
Weinstein inevitably looms large over the film, though the man himself is curiously treated like an elusive specter through images of hotel rooms in disarray, a shot of the back of his head, or an intimidating but disembodied voice on speakerphone. The effect, at least in the trailer, is of a Boogeyman-esque villain (when truthfully, this type of abuser is all too common and typically seem to hide in plain sight).
An interesting aspect of the film is that Brad Pitt counts among the producers. In one of the follow-up pieces to the original Weinstein story, Gwyneth Paltrow recalled Pitt confronting and threatening Weinstein after she informed her then-boyfriend of his sexual harassment. Pitt continued to work with Weinstein, even after his wife Angelina Jolie shared the severity of her own encounter with him; Jolie later said the continued association was something the couple “fought” about.
Pitt’s involvement is just one reason to ask: is Hollywood capable of fictionalizing an event so close to its own rotting heart? Weinstein may be the business’ most infamous predator, but his crimes are not an isolated incident–the industry is still undoubtedly littered with abusers and those complicit in abuse.
Even the industry’s attempts to combat these issues has proven deeply flawed: Time’s Up, the female-led organization that sprung up in the wake of the #MeToo movement, faced a major overhaul last year when it was revealed that its leadership had counseled then-governor Andrew Cuomo amidst his own sexual assault scandal.
In other words, this may not be a subject that Hollywood can tackle with any objectivity, or even self-awareness. We’ll see if She Said can rise to the challenge when it hits theaters November 18, 2022.