Filmmaker Michael Caton-Jones was fired from directing 1998 cult classic B. Monkey by executive producer Harvey Weinstein. At the time, “creative differences” was the given reason, but Caton-Jones is now revealing that his choice for the lead, Sophie Okonedo, wasn’t sexy enough for the now disgraced Hollywood honcho.
In an interview with Buzzfeed, the director says the production team agreed the film should star a fresh face, and that he decided Okonedo was the perfect choice.
“The basics of the deal was we were going to find an unknown and we were going to cast her as the lead in the film. There was extensive casting. We saw many, many girls, maybe 100 or so. And I ended up — I thought Sophie Okonedo would have been great for the part.”
Unfortunately, a meeting with Weinstein changed everything, as he repeatedly asked Caton-Jones, “Do you think she’s f*ckable?”
In defense of both his chosen star and the film, he responded, “Don’t screw up the casting of this film because you want to get laid,” whereupon Weinstein reportedly “went mental.”
This led to both Caton-Jones and Okonedo getting the boot. The part later went to Asia Argento, one of many women who recently accused Weinstein of rape.
— Asia Argento (@AsiaArgento) October 15, 2017
The Basic Instinct 2 director also believes more people in the industry knew what Weinstein was all about than are speaking up.
“Anyone who didn’t know, didn’t want to know,” he said. “It’s like Germany after the Second World War — I’ve never seen so many people not knowing anything. I certainly knew what was going on at the time. And everyone around us pretty much all knew what the score was.
“You only had to spend five minutes with Harvey to get the nature of the man. He didn’t particularly hide who he was.”
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.