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New movie based on life of a Harvey Weinstein assistant debuts at Telluride Film Festival

2019-08-29

Actress Julia Garner in a scene from Kitty Green’s "The Assistant." (Ty Johnson / Luminary Productions LLC)

Harvey Weinstein buzz is returning to the film festival circuit — but he’s an on-screen villain, not a VIP, this time.

The Telluride Film Festival revealed Thursday that a new movie loosely based on the life of a Weinstein assistant will premiere Friday at the glitterati gathering in Colorado.

The flick, starring “Ozark” actress Julia Garner and aptly titled “The Assistant,” follows a young woman working the desk of a domineering film executive who preys on young actresses for his sexual gratification.

The Telluride lineup remains hush-hush every year until the secret slate is announced the day before the festival starts.

Weinstein’s name isn’t mentioned in the movie, but producers confirmed in a press release that “the original impulse for this film came from the Harvey Weinstein scandal.”

Writer and director Kitty Green said she was developing a documentary feature in October 2017 when the scandal exploded with a flurry of accusations claiming sexual harassment and assault against the disgraced producer.

“Suddenly the Weinstein story was everywhere,” Green said in a statement. “As a female filmmaker, I was very familiar with sexual misconduct, some of which is easy to talk about and some of it more difficult. I like to funnel my anxieties and fears into my art, so I decided to turn the focus of the film toward Hollywood.”

She said her movie’s abusive boss character later became a hybrid of “powerful figures in the film industry.”

“The women I spoke with all discussed their frustration with the machinery that surrounded these predators and the culture that supports violence and discrimination against women,” she said.

Green told Deadline that her research included interviews with people who worked at The Weinstein Company and Weinstein’s prior studio Miramax, which he sold to Disney.

“I feel like it would be reductive to say it’s about The Weinstein Company or any specific one because it is a problem everywhere in industry and it’s global,” she told Deadline. “But I do think there are a lot of details that I’m sure people that worked in Weinstein’s company will recognize.”

Green’s past projects include the acclaimed 2017 documentary “Casting JonBenet.”

A Weinstein rep did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily News.

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Women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault

The fallen filmmaker also has another major project taking aim at him this holiday weekend. Hulu’s highly anticipated documentary chronicling his life debuts on Monday.

Titled “Untouchable,” the documentary from Ursula Macfarlane includes interviews with several accusers including actresses Rosanna Arquette and Paz de la Huerta.