‘Scarface’ director Brian De Palma to tackle Weinstein scandal
Acclaimed filmmaker says it will be a ‘horror film’ about a ‘sexual aggressor’, but they won’t be called Weinstein
Scarface director Brian De Palma is to tackle the story of disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood legend said.
The maker of Carrie , Carlito’s Way and The Untouchables said he was toying with the idea of dealing with Weinstein and the #MeToo movement the Hollywood producer unleashed after claims that he had raped and abused a string of actresses over the years.
“I have been following it very closely because I know a lot of the people involved … This has inspired an idea for another book,” De Palma said in Paris, where he has just published his first novel in French.
“As a director you have to get actors’ confidence and their love in order to be able to use their instrument in your movie. And to violate it on any level is just to me the worst thing you can do, just because of your gluttony or your lust,” the 77-year-old said.
“I’ve heard stories over the years” about abuse and casting couches, the veteran filmmaker said. “I always reacted very strongly to anybody that was doing such things. And of course, you would hear stories about the most notorious people.”
De Palma said he was writing a script based on the scandal, “although my character will not be called Harvey Weinstein”.
“But it is a horror film, with a sexual aggressor, and the story will take place within the film industry,” he told the French daily Le Parisien.
De Palma defended his treatment of women characters in his films, arguing that the violence they faced was necessary for the stories to work.
“I would get that question year after year, and I would always give the same answer,” he said. “But fortunately Quentin Tarantino took over that problem. They started asking him that question and they forgot about me, thank God.
“I was accused of putting women in jeopardy and I said this is a suspense movie. A woman presents a more vulnerable creature. To me it was just part of the genre, and I never thought it was anything sexist ... I like women characters,” said the director, who co-wrote his first novel with his wife, journalist Susan Lehman.
The Hitchcockian thriller Les serpents sont-ils necessaires? (Are Snakes Necessary?) has been published in French before it comes out in English.
De Palma said Hitchcock’s film Vertigo was central to making him a film director. “I saw it in 1958 and it haunted me for the rest of my career,” he said.
Lehman, a former New York Times reporter, said the book brings the Hitchcockian chiller into the post-#MeToo age.
“Brian has a particular sort of macho sensibility, and I thought it would be interesting to see what happens if a sort of a feminine streak got injected into that,” she said. “What happens here is women take things into their own hands. And the men who are creepy and crude at best get what they deserve.”
De Palma said the #MeToo movement was not just changing the pay and working conditions of women in Hollywood, but it could also fundamentally change what films are about.
“It will be interesting to see when women start controlling the aesthetic what is going to happen. It would be interesting to see if their gaze is so much different than ours. Because a lot of movies are about the male gaze, what the male sees.”
De Palma said he has just finished his latest film Domino, a thriller set in Denmark with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Carice van Houten of Game of Thrones fame, and is planning his next – another murder story – Sweet Vengeance, which will be shot in Uruguay.