Editors note: Deadline’s Read the Screenplay series debuts and celebrates the scripts of films that will factor in this year’s movie awards races.
With her Universal Pictures drama She Said, director Maria Schrader tackles one of the great stories of the new century: recounting, step by step, how New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey took on Harvey Weinstein and won.
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The film starring Carey Mulligan as Twohey and Zoe Kazan as Kantor is based on the original reporting of the NYT duo and their subsequent bestseller She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement. The film’s script was adapted by Rebecca Lenkiewicz, the Spirit Award nominee behind such films as Ida and Colette.
She Said’s plot is set in motion in 2017, when Kantor gets a tip about actress Rose McGowan and an alleged sexual assault at the hands of Weinstein — the Oscar-winning producer behind Miramax and The Weinstein Company who for decades wielded his wealth, power and reputation to shield himself from accusations of sexual abuse. She and Kantor are able to confirm, in the months that follow, that McGowan is just one of many women who have been victimized — and then silenced — by Weinstein. The publishing of their bombshell exposé on the producer on October 5 of the same year hinges on convincing several Weinstein victims, including actress Ashley Judd, to go on the record with their accounts.
Kantor and Twohey’s reporting opens the #MeToo floodgates, with more than 80 women coming forward to speak out against Weinstein. The revelations empowered countless others to speak their own truths as social justice movements burgeoned not just in Hollywood but in all industries across the globe.
First arrested for crimes including rape in 2018, Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison in 2020. While he’s so far done time at multiple facilities in New York where he is in the midst of an appeal, he was extradited to Los Angeles in 2021 to face further criminal charges; in December, he was found guilty of three pertaining to instances of sexual abuse.
Released in November after world premiering at the New York Film Festival, She Said was named one of the best films of 2022 by the American Film Institute. The aforementioned Judd gives the film a potent realism by appearing as herself, with Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, Jennifer Ehle and Samantha Morton rounding out the cast.
Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner produced the pic for Plan B Entertainment, with Annapurna Pictures’ Megan Ellison and Sue Naegle serving as exec producers.
Read Lenkiewicz’s script by clicking below.
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