John Malkovich defends starring in a new play inspired by Harvey Weinstein: 'It might upset people'

  • John Malkovich is starring in a new play, “Bitter Wheat,” featuring a central character is inspired by former Hollywood producer and alleged rapist Harvey Weinstein.
  • He said that while the play “might upset people” who have been abused, it’s “a terrific piece of writing.”
  • Malkovich denied knowing anything about sexual misconduct accusations against Weinstein before they were made public in October 2017.

John Malkovich defended his starring role in a new play inspired by former Hollywood mogul and alleged rapist Harvey Weinstein, saying it’s a “terrific piece of writing.”

“Bitter Wheat” was written by “Glengarry Glen Ross” and “The Untouchables” writer David Mamet, is scheduled to premiere in London’s West End this summer. It’s central character, Barney Fein, is “a bloated monster – a studio head who, like his predecessor, the minotaur, devours the young he has lured into his cave,” according to promotional material. Malkovich – best known for “Bird Box,” “Being John Malkovich,” and “Con Air” – plays Fein.

“Of course it might upset people who’ve experienced the kind of treatment that the play contains and shows and describes,”Malkovich told BBC News. “A lot of people may not like it. But what can I do about that? Personally I think it’s a terrific piece of writing.”

Malkovich said that while Mamet’s play is inspired by Weinstein, the central character is not a direct representation of him.

“It’s not particularly Harvey Weinstein. It’s a great deal about that business and a great deal about about how people in that business in positions, say, as studio heads have behaved really for more or less a century now,” he told the BBC. “If the idea maybe started as a reaction to all the news that came out in particular about Harvey Weinstein, I think David took the idea from there and went with it.”


Read more:
Judge declines throwing out sexual assault charges against Harvey Weinstein, allowing case to continue

Weinstein’s alleged crimes – at least 80 people have accused him of sexual assaulthave been described as an “open secret” by some people before they were reported by the New York Times in October 2017. But Malkovich, who starred in the Weinstein Company-distributed 1998 movie “Rounders,” said he wasn’t aware of any accusations against him at the time.

“I didn’t really have any connection with him,” he told the BBC. “It was never a topic of conversation any time the name ‘Harvey Weinstein’ came around with me.”

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