Harvey Weinstein flew into Madrid this weekend to host a special July 4th tribute to his New York hometown on behalf of the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Ambassador to Spain, James Costos, a former top HBO executive. The event, the largest July 4th celebration held outside the U.S., saw Weinstein produce a one-off concert with some of Broadway’s biggest stars, including Tony Award-winning Laura Benanti (Gypsy), Norm Lews (Porgy and Bess), Jared Grimes (New York Spring Spectacular) and Mary-Mitchell Campbell (Finding Neverland).
As part of the event, Weinstein also met with and regaled hundreds of film students from Madrid’s Film School of the Community (ECAM) with tales from the course of his career. One anecdote recounted how during filming Gangs Of New York, director Martin Scorsese needed to shoot a scene with an elephant. “But the animal fell ill and his trainer appeared with a camel,” said Weinstein. “Martin Scorsese filmed it. I spoke with George Lucas and he added (through his then-owned ILM) the elephant by computer as a birthday gift to Marty.”
The lifetime Democrat also took the time to send a shout out to President Obama from overseas. “Last week was a great week for America. The President will be viewed as a great leader through the eyes of history. We are witnessing the Obama legacy emerge after all the fights and once again are reminded of the power of justice.”