It appears Harvey Weinstein’s transgressions aren’t limited to hotel rooms where he inappropriately propositions up-and-coming actresses for sexual favors. The producer also makes casting choices based on whether he thinks an actress is “f-ckable” and in the case of Sophie Okonedo, in his opinion, that answer was no.
It’s for that reason the lead role in the 1998 flick B. Monkey went to Asia Argento, who, according to Buzzfeed, “is one of dozens of women to have recently alleged Weinstein sexually assaulted or harassed them. Argento said Weinstein raped her in 1997.” It’s also why filmmaker Michael Caton-Jones, who spilled the beans on this situation, was dropped from the movie.
“The basics of the deal were we were going to find an unknown and we were going to cast her as the lead in the film,” Caton-Jones told Buzzfeed. “There was extensive casting. We saw many, many girls, maybe 100 or so. And I ended up — I thought Sophie Okonedo would have been great for the part.”
But once he and Okonedo met Weinstein at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, the director said, “Harvey kept saying to me, ‘Do you think she is f-ckable?’ That was what the deal was all the time. I said, ‘She is the best actress for the job, Harvey.’ And we started arguing about it. It was only when I said to Harvey, ‘Don’t screw up the casting of this film because you want to get laid,’ whereupon he went mental.”
Apparently, Caton-Jones went to his room to calm down and by the time he returned to Weinstein’s room Variety was calling for comment about walking off the film.
“I was furious after being kicked off my film, and I told them all about what happened,” he explained. “I told them about the harassment claims, and I said ‘Here is your quote: I don’t cast films according to Harvey Weinstein’s erection,’ and they just laughed.”
Variety, which is now under new management, said they couldn’t comment on prior editorial decisions. Neither Weinstein nor Okonedo’s rep returned Buzzfeed’s request for comment, but we should expect more stories like this to continue to be shared in the coming days and weeks.