Ellen Barkin Alleges ‘Sea of Love’ Director Ripped Off Her Merkin on Set: ‘What Do You Need This For?’

Barkin recalled her scene partner being "terrified" following the encounter.
Ellen Barkin at Animal Kingdom premiere
Ellen Barkin

Ellen Barkin is opening up about a difficult experience with director Harold Becker.

The “Poker Face” star recalled a particular “very difficult” scene for neo-noir film “Sea of Love,” helmed by Becker, which involved her being completely nude except for a merkin, which is a loin cloth garment made to look like a pubic region. Merkin alleges Becker forcefully removed her merkin during production.

“What was I going to do when [director] Harold Becker on ‘Sea of Love’ walks over and literally rips my merkin off, taking some pubic hair with him and saying: ‘What do you need this for? Nobody’s looking at you’?” Barkin told Huffington Post.

Barkin noted her “Sea of Love” scene partner was “terrified” following the encounter. Her love scene was filmed with Al Pacino. “This is what [the industry’s] like,” Barkin added. “And I had an easy time with it, believe me.”

Her role on TNT’s “Animal Kingdom” also came with its own gender-based conflict. “I wanted out,” Barkin said. “They didn’t kill me. I had been asking to leave for four years. It was not a pleasant place to work.”

Barkin alleged her character became underdeveloped, with a younger actress being brought on to play the part. “Want to talk about treating women disrespectfully? On my show, there’s a young me,” Barkin said. “Oh, what is that?”

She added of the on-set culture, “My head just whipped around. I was like, ’What the fuck is going on here?′ Men used to come in my trailer and just scream at me. How’s that? With me pushing them out the door saying, ‘Get out of my trailer.’ That’s what it was like for me to go to work.” Yet, “that was some of the best work I’ve ever done,” she added.

But the culture wasn’t worth it: “I was like, ‘Wow, I hate these men,'” Barkin summed up. “Most of them were just like little boys.”

Barkin previously revealed she had an inappropriate encounter with controversial director Terry Gilliam in an elevator. “My hard won advice: never get into an elevator alone with Terry Gilliam,” Barkin tweeted in 2018.

She later added in 2020, “What the fuck is up with Terry Gilliam? And who is backing his anti-survivor press tour? Perfectly timed to the weinstein trial. Now why would a man have such antagonism for victims of sexual assault? Methinks that man doth protest way too fucking much, cuz meknows.”

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