Seemingly as quickly as the downfall of Harvey Weinstein itself, the exposé that took down the movie mogul will be made into a film produced by Annapurna Pictures and Plan B Entertainment. Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, reporters at the New York Times, were part of the driving force that ousted an abusive man from a position of power. Now, the story of their journey to their Pulitzer Prize-winning piece will be told on the big screen.
The Hollywood Reporter states that the as-yet-untitled film will focus on Kantor and Twohey’s struggle to get their scoop out to the public amidst a series of threats and intimidating tactics meant to keep the Weinstein story buried. Similar to journalism-focused films such as the Academy Award-winning Spotlight, the movie will unveil the true underdog heroes who went up against seemingly indestructible institutions and thankfully came out on top.
These aren’t typical feel-good movies that exist in some perfect movie world vacuum. Particularly when it comes to Kantor and Twohey, their work continues to have incredible social relevance. These are the reports that served as the precursor for the ongoing #MeToo and Time’s Up movements and the ripple effect is still happening.
There is no director or screenwriter attached to the project, but considering the timeliness and utmost importance of the movie, it is a story worth telling right. The question now becomes, who will be the ideal filmmaker for the job? To have just anybody helm a film about two tenacious female journalists wouldn’t do the film justice and one thing is certain: a woman should sit in the director’s chair.
So, here are some suggestions:
Throughout her career, Mira Nair has shown an interest in depicting stories about communities on the fringes. She has made incisive movies about children living in the slums of Bombay (Salaam Bombay!), interracial relationships (Mississippi Masala) and the complexities of living in America as a Pakistani in a post-9/11 society (The Reluctant Fundamentalist), just to name a few. Despite her films being international in nature, Nair’s work is character-driven and feels more universally relatable as a result. In general, Nair’s movies are unafraid to confront conflicting truths, which is exactly what a film about Kantor and Twohey needs.
Rees is specifically in the business of timely and timeless cinema. Whether she’s making a more contained dramatic piece about lesbian identity (Pariah) or a sweeping, lyrical film depicting tenuous race relations and the insidiousness of racism in the US (Mudbound), Rees delivers her biting commentary through the uniquely complex relationships she portrays. She is also already out there calling Hollywood out on its bullshit when it comes to locking certain voices out of the wider film canon anyway. Rees would definitely carry Kantor and Twohey’s journey to the big screen with sharpness and finesse.
Admittedly, this choice demonstrates a little more wishful thinking on my part since DuVernay has recently committed to many projects, and some are of the much bigger variety. But her version of a film based on Kantor and Twohey’s triumph would be wonderful because her movies are all about doing women justice and celebrating their inherent strengths. There is not a single female character in her films that feels two-dimensional — just watch her Oprah Winfrey Network series Queen Sugar and find out. It is also easy to remember that DuVernay is completely committed to social justice on the screen; she’s presently re-teaming with Netflix after her successful documentary 13th for a project about the Central Park Five.
But regardless of who gets behind the camera, I’m just glad a movie based on the New York Times’ Weinstein coverage is being made at all, especially through the lens of the journalists involved. In a Hollywood that is becoming increasingly aware of the business of conscious movie-making (Annapurna itself has paved the way in recent years), it’s not a big surprise that something as timely as the Weinstein effect would land at a movie studio this quickly.
Already, many projects that have come out of the fallout of Weinstein’s exile push for diversity in more ways than one, whether that means women are telling their own stories for a change or people of color are finally rewriting history by unearthing powerful untold stories. Hence, a film about the reporters who got the ball of this new era of filmmaking rolling feels necessary, due to its place as a cultural touchstone that literally rocked the film industry for the better.