Joseph Fiennes opens up about his trip to Hollywood, including the “bullying” he suffered at the hands of disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein.
In a revealing new interview with the ObserverTHE Shakespeare in love star, 53, has explained why he turned down Weinstein’s offer of a five-picture deal following the massive success of the 1998 film, produced by Weinstein’s company Miramax.
Noting that he has to ‘be careful here’, Fiennes first spoke off the record before revealing that the reason he turned down Weinstein’s deal was because of an ‘unsuitable bullying tactic’ . He claims he was called into Weinstein’s hotel room, where the legendary producer described the contract to Fiennes in an allegedly aggressive way that “made it clear that he would now be in charge of Fiennes’ career,” reads- we in the article.
“The way he explained it was a shock to me. But then I suddenly sat in the room very present, and happy and strong in myself to say, you know what, I’m not indebted to this. ” Fiennes remembers. “I move away.
While he’s not sure if he was later punished by Weinstein for refusing the deal, Fiennes clarified that he doesn’t think it benefited him either.
“I don’t think it helped me. Hurt? No, maybe not hurt. But he made it clear that he would not support me. He will make a very strong move not to support me,” he shared. “I was out of the family. But I was very happy not to be in the family.
Fiennes also opened up about his “poor” decision to portray Michael Jackson in a 2016 episode of the anthology. Urban myths. In the program, Fiennes played the role of Jackson opposite Succession Brian Cox as Marlon Brando and Stockard Channing as Elizabeth Taylor, as the trio go on a post-9/11 journey.
Looking back, Fiennes said he thinks “people are absolutely right to be upset” about his taking on the role. “And it was a bad decision. Absolutely. And I’m a part of it — there’s producers, broadcasters, writers, administrators, all involved in those decisions,” he said. “But you know , it happened at a time when there was movement and change and it was good, and it was, you know, a bad call. A bad mistake.”
At the time, Paris Jackson, the late pop star’s daughter, tweeted that the show “really makes me want to vomit.” The episode was eventually pulled before it aired, with the Sky network issuing a statement saying the decision was made “in light of concerns expressed by Michael Jackson’s immediate family”.
Fiennes said he played a significant role in the decision to stop the show from airing.
“I asked the broadcaster to take it down. And there were some pretty heated discussions, but ultimately people made the right choice,” he noted.