Angelina Jolie turned down a role in Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-nominated film The Aviator to avoid working with convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein.
In an interview with The Guardian, Jolie explained that she had previously thwarted the producer's unwanted advances during the filming of Playing by Heart in 1998, when she was 21.
“If you get yourself out of the room, you think he attempted but didn’t, right? The truth is that the attempt and the experience of the attempt is an assault,” she said.
She previously described working with Weinstein as a “bad experience” but has now labelled it an alleged assault. In the interview, Jolie recalled how she told her first husband, actor Jonny Lee Miller, to warn other men about him and explained how difficult it was for her when her most recent ex, Brad Pitt, continued to work with Weinstein.
“It was beyond a pass, it was something I had to escape. I stayed away and warned people about him. I remember telling Jonny, my first husband, who was great about it, to spread the word to other guys – don’t let girls go alone with him,” she said.
“I was asked to do The Aviator, but I said no because he was involved. I never associated or worked with him again. It was hard for me when Brad did.”
Jolie also says that Pitt approached Weinstein to produce his 2012 film Killing Them Softly against her wishes. The Weinstein Company ended up as the distributor for the film, and Jolie avoided attending promotional events for it.
“We fought about it. Of course it hurt,” Jolie said.
In 2020, Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for rape and sexual assault. He had been accused of violating scores of women including actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek and Uma Thurman.
Before the allegations surfaced in 2017, Weinstein and his brother Bob had left an indelible mark on Hollywood.
They co-founded Miramax Films, a small distribution company named after their mother Miriam and father Max, in 1979. It was sold to Disney in 1993.
Their hits included 1998's Shakespeare in Love, for which Weinstein shared a Best Picture Oscar. Over the years, Weinstein's films received more than 300 Oscar nominations and 81 statuettes.