Acclaimed director Sarah Polley is the latest woman to come forward to share her story about an interaction with Harvey Weinstein. The Away From Her director goes into detail about a meeting she took with Weinstein when she was a 19-year-old actress. He insisted that he had a “very close relationship” with a particular actress and that if Polley were to do the same, it would get her leading roles and awards.
In an op-ed for New York Times, Polley explained that she took the meeting with him in the middle of a shoot for a Miramx film. “I was pulled out of the photo shoot abruptly,” she wrote. “The publicist said that we needed to be in Harvey Weinstein’s office in 20 minutes.”
She added that in the taxi, the publicist said, “I’m going in with you. And I’m not leaving your side.” Polley knew everything she needed to know in that moment and was grateful.
The interaction between Weinstein and Polley was much tamer than the stories that have surfaced as of late. Upon Weinstein not-so-subtle implications, Polley immediately indicated that he was wasting his time and that “we probably wouldn’t be friends or have a ‘close relationship'” that he wanted because she didn’t care much about her acting career.
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In her op-ed, Polley does not hold back, giving us another take on the scandal and how this meeting affected her career. She questions what she would have done if she was more of an ambitious actor at the time. “I was purely lucky that I didn’t care.”
She goes on to say that she loved acting and that since working with Julie Christie on Away From Her, she had a “newfound understanding of collaboration” when it comes to director and actor. “I would be more pliable,” said Polley. “I was excited to give my whole, unfettered self to a director, the way Julie Christie had done for me.”
Unfortunately, the way she has been directed as an actress hadn’t been so forthcoming. She shared her own humiliating and violated experiences including a time when she mentioned to a producer that a rape scene wasn’t being handled sensitively to which he answered, “Dakota Fanning had done a rape scene when she was 12 “and she’s fine.”
“Most directors are insensitive men,” wrote Polley. “And while I’ve met quite a few humane, kind, sensitive male directors and producers in my life, sadly they are the exception and not the rule. This industry doesn’t tend to attract the most gentle and principled among us.”
She adds, “Harvey Weinstein may be the central-casting version of a Hollywood predator, but he was just one festering pustule in a diseased industry.”
She even admitted that she knew about Weinstein’s actions and says that it is an unsettling problem that she is left with now. Even so, instead of dwelling on what she and others should have done, she remains proactive and forward thinking in what to do now. She closes her op-ed with a list of questions, that plays out like a call to action to not only her peers in the industry, but outside of it as well: “What else are we turning a blind eye to, in all aspects of our lives? What else have we accepted that, somewhere within us, we know is deeply unacceptable? And what now will we do about it?”
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