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For years, Harvey Weinstein lorded over Sundance with a Machiavellian approach.
This year, he is making a very different kind of appearance as the subject of Ursula Macfarlane’s documentary Untouchable, which made its world premiere Friday at the festival. (Embankment is repping the film for U.S. rights.)
Though the British director, whose credits include One Deadly Weekend in America, says she has never crossed paths with Weinstein, Macfarlane became intrigued by how his notorious behavior with women went unchecked by the film industry for decades. (He has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by dozens of women and is facing five criminal counts, including rape, in New York.)
“The more I read about him and his particular story, I just felt, how did he get away with it? Like, this is monumental,” she says.
Hoping to break new ground on the story that has received blanket coverage and sparked Hollywood’s #MeToo movement, Macfarlane features new accusers including Hope Exiner d’Amore, a one-time University of Buffalo student who claims Weinstein raped her in a New York City hotel, and others speaking on camera for the first time, including actress Paz de la Huerta.
“It was very difficult for some of them,” Macfarlane says. “They came to the studio, had their cups of coffee and took deep breaths and did it because they thought it was the right thing to do.”
The film’s producers reached out to Weinstein’s legal team and offered the former mogul an opportunity to respond on camera to the allegations, but they received no response.
“I think just to have him sitting there in that chair with a camera on him would be so utterly extraordinary,” says Macfarlane. “I have so many questions for him. But sadly, he didn’t engage with us.”
This story first appeared in the Jan. 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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