Variety is reporting that Michael Mitnick, the screenwriter for The Current War (Weinstein Co., 11.24), has dropped out of a New York Film Festival panel slated for tonight, titled “Real to Reel: Dramatizing True Stories” and moderated by Thelma Adams.
Mittnick didn’t explain his decision, but he apparently doesn’t want to promote a film being distributed by The Weinstein Co. because he feels this would in some way constitute an oblique approval of Harvey Weinstein, who has recently become the most despised industry pariah in the history of the motion picture industry due to numerous legit claims of sexual assault.
Mitnick wrote the script for The Current War several years ago. A story about the “War of Currents” between electricity titans Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse that occured in the 1880s and 1890s, the film took five years to make it to the screen.
Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and produced by Timur Bekmambetov and Basil Iwanyk, the period drama costars Benedict Cumberbatch as Edison, Michael Shannon as Westinghouse and Nicholas Hoult as Nikola Tesla.
My incomplete understanding is that the the Weinstein Co. had nothing to do with the creative creation of The Creation War. The company simply acquired the distribution rights…correct?
If I was Mitnick I would attend tonight’s panel discussion and read the following statement early on: “I feel terrible that our film, which I worked on for many years and which I’m deeply proud of, has been stained by association due to Harvey Weinstein‘s company having acquired the distribution rights.
“I feel sick about what Harvey is accused of having repeatedly done, and I greatly admire the brave women who have come forward and told their stories about his behavior.
“On the other hand it feels wrong to just throw the baby out with the bathwater by disassociating myself from a creative venture on which I worked and slaved and sweated so hard to get right. I’m sorry that The Current War is a Weinstein Co. release — who wouldn’t be? — but Harvey Weinstein had nothing to do with the making of this film, and I’m here to talk about the effort to write it well and get it made.”
Tonight’s discussion will feature Adams and panelists Emily Gordon (The Big Sick) and Michael Koskoff (Marshall).