As Harvey Weinstein faces accusations from more than 100 women and a rape trial that could send him to prison for 25 years, directors, writers, and producers jockey for position: Who will be the first to prepare adaptations of his demise? He sparked an episode of “Law & Order: SVU” that aired earlier this year, but that only scratches the surface.
Of course, news headlines spur plenty of quickly announced films that never get made. Revolution Studios touted “Fan Interference” the week Steve Bartman’s foul ball catch kept the Cubs from the 2003 World Series, while Spike Lee pledged to direct a James Brown biopic for Paramount Pictures and Imagine Entertainment just one day after the soul legend’s death in 2006. However, a couple of these Weinstein undertakings are very much in the works, with one only months away.
Here, we assess the prospective Weinstein-inspired projects to date, from most to least likely.
1. “The Reckoning: Hollywood’s Worst-Kept Secret” (Documentary)
The Backstory: Canadian documentarian Barry Avrich made his first Weinstein documentary eight years ago with “Unauthorized: The Harvey Weinstein Project.” The IFC release featured interviews with Magnolia Pictures president Eamonn Bowles, future “Call My By Your Name” Oscar-winner James Ivory, and the late documentarian George Hickenlooper. When women began speaking out against Weinstein and IFC declined to let him recut “Unauthorized,” Avrich enlisted actress-producer Melissa Hood and “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” producer Patrice Theroux to help him make “The Reckoning: Hollywood’s Worst-Kept Secret” (Avrich even published an op-ed about his do-over in The Toronto Star). The film had its world premiere at Hot Docs Film Festival in late April; in the interim, Avrich reclaimed rights from The Weinstein Company to another documentary, about Nuremberg prosecutor Ben Ferencz.
Current Status: October release. Avrich told IndieWire that he’s completing a distribution agreement that will result in a limited October release in North American theaters before “The Reckoning” arrives on streaming platforms later that month. “The beauty of coming out of Hot Docs was getting a reaction — getting a sense of what worked, what didn’t work — and then polishing the film, which we’ve been doing as we speak and, of course, adding the developments,” he said.
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2. “Weinstein” (Documentary)
The Backstory: A decade after accepting the Best Documentary Oscar for another film about a man who almost lost his footing in New York City, “Man on Wire,” London and Los Angeles-based production company Lightbox brought Harvey Weinstein’s story to the latest Cannes Film Market, via sales and financing company Embankment Films. Hugo Grumbar, a partner at Embarkment, told IndieWire that the documentary’s working title has been changed from “Citizen Harvey” to “Weinstein.” Another Embarkment representative said that shooting just got underway. The BBC — who commissioned the film in late 2017 — will co-produce and broadcast the feature on BBC Two following a theatrical release. Grumbar said cinema distribution is sought both in the U.K. and abroad.
Current Status: In production. BAFTA-nominated “Charlie Hedbo” director Ursula Macfarlane is helming the project, working with a team that included Media Finance Capital producers David Gilbery (“47 Meters Down”) and Charles Dorfman (“Shame”).
3. “Predator” (Thriller)
The Backstory: “Carrie” and “Scarface” director Brian De Palma told French newspaper Le Parisien that he was writing his own take on the Weinstein saga. “My character won’t be named Harvey Weinstein, but it will be a horror film, with a sexual aggressor, and it will take place in the film industry,” he said. The creative team is coming together fast: Deadline reported Tuesday that the feature, “Predator” — not to be confused with the three-decade-old Arnold Schwarzenegger flick — will reteam De Palma with Franco-Tunisian producer Saïd Ben Saïd, with whom he previously worked on 2012’s “Passion.” Saïd’s credits include Roman Polanski’s “Carnage,” David Cronenberg’s “Maps to the Stars,” and Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle,” which earned Isabelle Huppert a 2017 Best Actress Oscar nomination for her portrayal of a rape victim. His partner, Michel Merkt (“Elle,” “Toni Erdmann”) will also co-produce. De Palma will set his film at the Toronto Film Festival, where Mira Sorvino accused Weinstein of giving her an unwanted massage and chasing her while they were in town to promote Miramax’s “Mighty Aphrodite.”
Current Status: In development with approximate start date. Saïd Ben Saïd told Deadline that production will begin about this time next year. Merkt and De Palma’s rep did not return a call for comment.
4. “Bitter Wheat” (Play)
The Backstory: Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet (“Glengarry Glen Ross”) told the Chicago Tribune that he’s completed a theater piece about the notorious ex-studio chairman, “Bitter Wheat.” Per New York Post sources, the idea came from Jeffrey Richards — a veteran producer of Mamet’s work — who offered the lead role to two-time Oscar nominee John Malkovich. The paper also reported that the play is London-bound under the director Daniel Evans, a former Broadway actor (“Sunday in the Park with George”) who now oversees the Chichester Festival Theater.
Current Status: Undetermined. A theater representative told IndieWire that Evans will not direct “Bitter Wheat.” Neither Richards nor representatives for Mamet and Malkovich have responded to requests for comment.
5. Annapurna/Plan B/New York Times (Drama)
The Backstory: In late April, Annapurna and Plan B acquired rights to the tale of how New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey crystallized the #MeToo movement. Kantor and Twohey are now also penning a book for Penguin Press. Annapurna’s filmography includes “Zero Dark Thirty,” “American Hustle,” and “Phantom Thread,” while Plan B was responsible for “Spotlight” Best Picture successor “Moonlight.” The two companies have been business partners since May 2017.
Current Status: Active development. According to an Annapurna representative, “The project is in active development, but in early stages so no attachments have been made at this time.”
6. Harvey Weinstein on Harvey Weinstein (Documentary)
Citing three people who communicated with Weinstein while he was a recent patient at an Arizona sex rehab center, The New York Times reported in March that the disgraced producer was pitching an autobiographical documentary as his comeback opportunity.
Current Status: Pipe dream. A Weinstein representative told IndieWire that his client is “not working on anything” at the moment besides his legal issues.