Crazy Harvey Weinstein Stories Outside Of His Numerous Legal Problems
The name "Harvey Weinstein" will forever be associated with flimsy bathrobes and forced massages, but let's not forget that the man is more than just a convicted sexual abuser. No, he's also a maniac whose reported outbursts made life a living hell for many of the filmmakers who had the misfortune of working with him. So, let's leave aside the horrifying sex stuff for a moment and look at Weinstein's other insane moments, like ...
He Made M. Night Shyamalan AND Rosie O'Donnell Cry
According to Wikipedia, M. Night Shyamalan described his second movie, Wide Awake, as "a comedy that he hoped would also make people cry." Those people turned out to be himself and star Rosie O'Donnell, thanks to Harvey Weinstein. According to producer Paul Webster, Weinstein's feedback after a screening of the movie consisted of destroying Shyamalan "in front of everybody" to the point of tears.
When O'Donnell tried to defend Shyamalan by telling Weinstein to leave the art to the artists, he reportedly lost it at her too, yelling: "You're some #$%@ing artist! You're just a #$%@ing talk show host! Like you would #$%@ing know." O'Donnell claims Weinstein called her the b-word and two different c-words, one of which is "cow."
Producer Kathy Conrad recalled that "Rosie burst into tears," and those present could "actually see smoke coming out of Harvey's ears." Weinstein ended up burying the movie and only releasing it three years later when a little thing called The Sixth Sense was generating buzz. Neither Shyamalan nor O'Donnell ever worked with Weinstein again for some mysterious reason.
He Allegedly Put A Journalist In A Headlock And Dragged Him To The Street
Journalist Rebecca Traister went to one of Weinstein's swanky New York parties looking for a quote, and she sure got one: "It's good that I'm the #$%@ing sheriff of this #$%@ing lawless piece-of-s**t town."
According to Traister, Weinstein said that just after calling her the c-word and before grabbing her colleague/boyfriend, Andrew Goldman, putting him in a headlock, then dragging him out to 6th Avenue. All because Weinstein didn't appreciate a question about O, the high school-based Shakespeare adaptation he bought in 1999 and sat on for two years, supposedly because he thought the sex and violence in it might ruin his political aspirations.
Yeah, man, that's what makes you unelectable. And speaking of the "Sheriff of New York" ...
He Threw Nathan Lane Against A Wall Over A Rudy Giuliani Joke
When Nathan Lane was hired to host Weinstein's birthday bash for Hillary Clinton in 2002, he was warned that all his jokes would be screened beforehand to make sure there was nothing indecent (we're assuming the word "Bill" was automatically off limits). An hour before the event, Weinstein showed up backstage screaming "like Tony Soprano," furious at the caliber of the jokes -- especially one regarding Rudy Giuliani's comb-over. Weinstein was so scandalized that he threw Lane against a wall and threatened to ruin his career, to which Lane replied that there was no film career to ruin.
Still, this didn't prevent Lane from presenting the Best Animated Feature Film award at the 2002 Oscars, where he "joked" that Monsters Inc. sounded like a documentary about the Weinsteins.
He Called Billy Bob Thornton In The Middle Of The Night To Trash Talk Him
In 1996, Weinstein saw the first 30 minutes of Billy Bob Thornton's Sling Blade and became convinced that he was watching "an American classic." Smelling an Oscar, he immediately called Thornton's press agent and offered $10 million for the movie, which is more than any studio had ever paid for an independent movie. Then he finished watching it and apparently thought to himself, "I've made a huge mistake." Weinstein tried to go back on his agreement to let Thornton have final cut over the movie, but the actor/director refused. According to the agent, Weinstein ended up calling Billy Bob in the middle of the night and their exchange went something like this:
Weinstein's words failed to persuade Thornton, who was proven right when his cut earned him a Best Actor nomination, a Best Screenplay win, and made 34 times its $1 million budget. Weinstein got his revenge by buying Thornton's next movie and slashing 45 minutes (it got no Oscars and made negative money).
He Allegedly Threatened To Beat Up Frida's Composer For No Reason
Remember Frida, that movie where Salma Hayek plays the most famous unibrow fashion icon after Bert from Sesame Street? When director Julie Taymor had the audacity to say that a test audience liked the movie, Weinstein reportedly voiced (or to be more precise, screamed) his disagreement by saying: "You are the most arrogant person I have ever met! Go market the #$%@ing film yourself!" As described in the book Down and Dirty Pictures, Weinstein then offered some unsolicited advice to Taymor's partner/composer, Elliot Goldenthal:: "I don't like the look on your face. Why don't you defend your wife, so I can beat the s**t out of you."
While at it, Weinstein allegedly told Taymor's agent to "get the #$%@ out of here" and then turned to some Miramax executives and fired them one by one. All because the ... screening went too well? It's possible that Weinstein was simply taking out his sexual frustration on everyone after Hayek turned down his (gross) advances.
He And His Brother Put Guillermo Del Toro Through Hell
Guillermo del Toro once had his father held for ransom in Mexico for over two months, and he still says that working with Bob and Harvey Weinstein was "one of the worst experiences of (his) life." According to del Toro, he "never had a single day that was pleasant" because the Weinsteins kept messing with the movie every step of the way while calling him an inept director. At one point, Bob actually fired him and hired another guy to finish the movie, but he ended up being un-fired thanks to the intervention of lead actress Mira Sorvino and her boyfriend, some guy named Quentin.
Producer BJ Rack compared working in this movie to being "in a prisoner of war camp." Years later, when Harvey approached James Cameron at the Academy Awards to tell him how well Miramax treats directors, Cameron remembered what his pal del Toro told him about Mimic and almost hit Weinstein with his Oscar. He probably regrets the "almost" now.
He Released An Ice Cube Movie Before It Was Finished
In Ice Cube's words: "The Weinsteins #$%@ed me." According to Cube, the Weinsteins were going through financial troubles in 2009 and couldn't give his comedy Janky Promoters a wide release, so they told him to sell it to some other company and pay them their money back. While Cube was working on a deal elsewhere, he found out the movie was already out on DVD. The worst part is that it wasn't even finished: "It had a lot of loose ends. The music wasn't right. And they just basically snuck over here, edited it, finished it, and put it out. It was like crackhead s--t. Stealing the microwave out your grandmamma's house and selling it on the street."
He called it "the shadiest s--t that ever happened to me in the movie business." Who knows, maybe if Cube had simply been allowed to finish this movie, we wouldn't even remember Citizen Kane today.
He's An Extremely Sore Loser
When Weinstein was outbid for the drama Shine (a shoo-in for a ton of Oscar nominations), he tracked down the guy who bought the movie to a restaurant and "grabbed him by the shirt," according to Down and Dirty Pictures. Producer Jonathan Taplin says Weinstein "materialized out of nowhere" and grabbed him while shouting, "You #$%@! You #$%@ed me!" until he was thrown out of the restaurant. Weinstein denied the physical assault, but not the verbal one. Even then, Tapin says he appreciated his enthusiasm: "It was very unpleasant to have this guy strangle you in a restaurant, but I give him credit for being passionate enough about Shine to hunt me down and confront me."
Similarly, when one of his executives moved to a rival company, Weinstein allegedly called the co-founders there and screamed some admittedly pretty creative insults, like, "You worthless piece of s--t, you think you're good at anything? #$%@ you. You suck, I could blow you away with one of my weakest farts." He must have learned something about crafting memorable dialogue from hanging out with Tarantino. But maybe it wasn't "love of movies" that fueled this behavior after all ...
He Blamed His Outbursts On M&Ms
If you're wondering how the hell these stories about Weinstein didn't come out earlier, the truth is that they did. It's just that, back in those days, a famous person could say something like, "it wasn't me, it was the candy," and people would buy it. That's essentially what Weinstein did in 2004 when New York magazine asked him about his tendency to yell profanities and threaten people, and he explained:
"What happened was, I was never an eater of breakfast or anything. In the morning, I used to just have a cup of coffee in the morning, went out to work, and then forget breakfast, sometimes lunch, and then make up for it with an overturned packet of plain M&M's in my suit coat. And I would just eat M&M's all day, sweets, you know, for what I thought was energy, which is not energy at all, now that I'm off of it. And what happened was the glucose level would go from 50 to 250 in my case. It's not in everybody's case. Some people handle sweets better.
And I would hit the adrenaline. So that's what caused these outbursts, you know."
Now, that may sound like BS to you, but there's some supporting evidence that increases its credibility, like the lawsuit where the filmmakers behind Hoodwinked alleged that Weinstein disrupted a screening by struggling over a bowl of M&Ms with another executive, spilling it, and eating the candy off the floor instead of watching the dang movie.