On Oct. 5, 2017, The New York Times ran a story called "Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades." The story was researched, reported, and busted wide open by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, who recently won a Pulitzer Prize for their work. Now the New York Times' Harvey Weinstein story will become a film, focused on these female journalists who broke it, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
As for what's known so far, THR announced on Wednesday that there is no writer or filmmaker yet, but the movie is centered on the reporters, who "faced down threats and intimidation to push through one of the most important stories of the decade." The site also listed All The President's Men and Spotlight as "touchstones" for the movie.
In other words, while there's no director or writer attached, they already have their angle. The untitled film won't be a redemption piece, nor will it be a sensationalized saga about Weinstein, #TimesUp, or #MeToo. It won't be centered on the male experience, or the immediate fallout of the story. It will just be about Kantor and Twohey's tireless, relentless, history-making effort to produce the Times story.
The impact of the work accomplished by Kantor and Twohey cannot be understated. As THR pointed out, the Weinstein story had an "immediate impact" upon the industry and the current women's rights movement at large. After the story about him broke, Weinstein was fired from the company he ran with his brother. He was also removed from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences after a majority vote, and reportedly fired from the Directors Guild of America. (Through a spokesperson, Weinstein denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex. He also released a statement last October that said, "I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.")
As a result, more women in Hollywood came forward to tell their own stories — both featuring Weinstein and of the industry's practices in general. The #MeToo movement went global as a result, and some of Hollywood's most influential women launched the #TimesUp foundation in January in response.
The companies Plan B and Annapurna Films are working together to create the film adaptation of this story. Plan B is Brad Pitt's production company, and as THR points out, helmed Best Picture winner Moonlight. Annapurna Pictures was formed by producer Megan Ellison in 2011, and has films like Zero Dark Thirty, Phantom Thread, and Her to its name. At just 32, Ellison is a singularly accomplished, dedicated producer, and it's refreshing that at least one woman is already behind the scenes of the upcoming film.
That Spotlight and All The President's Men are being described as "touchstones" for the project is an encouraging sign as well. It underscores that the film will focus on the story of breaking the Weinstein story. The work the journalists put in, the roadblocks they faced, the path to publishing, and the daunting nature of it all will likely be reflected in the film.
The fearless work of Kantor and Twohey helped remove an alleged abuser from power. Their reporting also helped shift the cultural climate around harassment, misconduct, and abuse in general. It has been especially effective within the entertainment industry. (Weinstein and his reps have continued to deny denied all claims against him as recently as January.)
Earlier this month, Kantor and Twohey were awarded a Pulitzer Prize, one they share with Ronan Farrow, for his investigative work on the same subject. Farrow's piece appeared in The New Yorker shortly afterward. Kantor and Twohey are brave, intrepid reporters, and watching their onscreen journey toward breaking the watershed story will likely prove inspiring.
Again, the project has just been announced, so no actors, writers, or directors have been publicly attached just yet. Hopefully, there will be developments in these areas soon.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.