Harvey Weinstein Emerges From Woodwork to Dispute Gwyneth Paltrow's Ben Affleck Casting Claim, Denies Blacklist Power

Harvey Weinstein Emerges From Woodwork to Dispute Gwyneth Paltrow's Ben Affleck Casting Claim, Denies Blacklist Power

February 20, 2019

Despite the many things that have been written about him, the disgraced producer took issue with this 21-year-old casting anecdote.

Having been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women, it is perhaps unsurprising Harvey Weinstein has been keeping his head down.

So it came as a bit of a shock when he emerged from the woodwork on Tuesday to dispute Gwyneth Paltrow‘s account of a casting story from two decades ago.

Looking back at her 1998 Oscar-winning comedy "Shakespeare In Love" with Variety the actress claimed — in a throwaway line buried in the copy — that the now-disgraced producer wanted Ben Affleck at the last minute for the role of Will, but she resisted.

She said she insisted an English actor play the part — wanting Joseph Fiennes — while Affleck settled for the much smaller role of actor Ned Alleyn.

But that was not how Weinstein remembered it, who then sent an unbidden statement to Variety.

"Gwyneth Paltrow is an excellent actor and a fantastic person, who does so well when on the right project," he said. "The only other contenders for the role of Will Shakespeare were Russell Crowe and Ethan Hawke, no one else. Ben Affleck did a terrific job as Ned Alleyn, which is the role he was considered for."

While the article did not mention anything about Weinstein blacklisting actresses for not responding to his sexual advances, it is something he has been accused of in the past. "Game Of Thrones" star Lena Headey was the latest to discuss it in an interview with The Sunday Times, in which she claimed she rebuffed him twice, after which she was never cast in another Miramax film again.

In the Variety interview both Paltrow and "Shakespeare" director John Madden insisted Weinstein’s involvement has not tarnished the film’s legacy: "It’s a beautiful film. A movie is not going to be successful if it’s not a good movie, not like that," she said.

But on Tuesday a representative for Weinstein claimed these two points contradicted each other, and proved the producer did not have the power to blacklist anyone, even if he wanted to.

He accused the media of holding a double standard; not questioning Paltrow when she says a great movie will rise no matter what, yet not questioning actresses who claim a producer can stop a great actress from rising.

"When Paltrow says, ‘A movie is not going to be successful if it’s not a good movie, not like that,’ you take it as gospel, but when someone accuses Harvey of shenanigans the same sentiment is ignored in place of something more sinister, why is that?" the rep said.

"Just as a good movie is a good movie, if someone is a good actor, you can’t keep her or him down. If someone is a box office draw, a good agency and good actor will get chosen for a role – blacklisting someone is just a bullshit idea convenient to beat the drum against Weinstein with."

He also refuted Gwyneth’s account of her relationship with Harvey; in the Variety interview she describes him as "a very difficult boss", "A bully", someone she constantly fought with but someone she wasn’t afraid of.

In The New York Times’ October 2017 exposé, Paltrow claimed that in 1995 Harvey summoned her to a hotel room, put his hands on her and asked her for a massage, an alleged interaction that led to then-boyfriend Brad Pitt threatening to kill him.

"I had one really uncomfortable, weird experience; then he was never inappropriate with me again in that way,” she told Variety.

But Harvey’s rep insisted there was no abusive relationship.

"The plain facts are for anyone willing to look beyond their need for clickbait and maybe try to be what journalists used to be, you will find that there was there was no abusive relationship," he said.

"He has helped Ms. Paltrow personally and in her career, and the most recent conversation was in the summer of 2017 with Ms. Paltrow asking Weinstein to invest $2M to help her brother with a show. The most difficult time they had seems to be when Weinstein pushed her into doing Shakespeare in Love, for which she was paid $10M, and was among the highest paid actors. Harvey was there for her when her father passed away, and she was there for him when Harvey was in the hospital.

"This is simply seems too convenient for the times we live in. When piling on becomes the norm simply because it appears to be politically correct or fashionable, we all lose, including Ms. Paltrow. Please do your research and don’t merely write claims because it’s easy and accepted."

TooFab reached out to Gwyneth’s reps for comment.

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