In wake of the sexual harassment scandal involving US filmmaker Harvey Weinstein, the New York Post has reported an incident arising from the production of the 2008 film adaptation of Brideshead Revisited. In 2007, Weinstein visited the production on location in North Yorkshire while he was negotiating the North American distribution rights for his company, then called Miramax. Those negotiations were ultimately successful. It was on the set that the sexual harassment is said to have occurred after he encountered actress Hayley Atwell:
During a break in the filming, the brash Hollywood powerbroker…walked over to Hayley Atwell, a then-24-year-old British-American actress who was playing Julia Flyte in the movie. Weinstein started flirting with the actress, who was clearly nervous, starring in one of her first major roles. At lunch, Weinstein sat with the cast and crew, and told Atwell to watch what she was eating, explaining that he had just come from watching that morning’s filming and he didn’t like what he saw, a film-industry source told The Post “You look like a fat pig on screen,” said Weinstein, who had just come from watching the dailies. “Stop eating so much.”
When Atwell told her Oscar-winning co-star Emma Thompson that the Miramax head ordered her to go on a diet, Thompson flipped. She took Weinstein aside and threatened to quit if he forced Atwell or any other woman on set to go on a diet. “Emma called Harvey out for being a misogynist and a bully and really gave him a hard time,” the source said. Weinstein backed down.
Thompson, who was playing Lady Marchmain, had discussed this same incident in an interview reported earlier this year, without naming the principals. See earlier post.