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'Assistant' director interviewed Weinstein employees for #MeToo drama

A private meeting in a five-star hotel. An angry voice yelling on the other end of the phone. A woman’s bracelet and hair tie strewn on the floor of a cushy corner office. 
These are breadcrumbs writer/director Kitty Green leaves for moviegoers watching “The Assistant,” (now playing in select theaters, expands nationwide Feb. 21), a haunting workplace drama based in no small part on embattled movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, now on trial in New York for five sex crimes, including rape. 
Although Weinstein, 67, is never mentioned by name, his presence looms heavily over the 90-minute film. It follows a day in the life of a recent college graduate named Jane (“Ozark’s” Julia Garner) working at a boutique film studio in New York under a powerful, mercurial – and unseen – producer, whose belligerent, predatory behavior strongly echoes that of alleged sexual abuser Weinstein. 
USA TODAY chats with Green about why “The Assistant” is about more than just Weinstein, and her own thoughts on his headline-making trial, which begins jury deliberations Tuesday.


Question: When you started writing “The Assistant” back in late 2017, you couldn’t have known that it would be released in theaters right as Harvey Weinstein is on trial. Do you feel that’s changed reactions or conversation the film is sparking?
Kitty Green: I don’t know, it’s difficult. This is not something we planned or knew was going to happen. For me, the film is so much bigger and broader than Harvey Weinstein. If the problem was just Harvey Weinstein, we would’ve fixed it by now. But it’s a film about systemic gender inequality, and that’s something that’s unfortunately still very much in place today. That said, I’m doing press about this subject all day and then getting home and reading the news from the trial, and it’s pretty horrific. It’s a reminder of the gravity of the situation and just how awful this is.

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