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Justine Bateman To Make Feature Directorial Debut With ‘Violet’

This sounds like the perfect movie for the #MeToo moment.
By  · Published on March 28th, 2018

This sounds like the perfect movie for the #MeToo moment.

Justine Bateman is the definition of a multihyphenate. Since making a name for herself as an actress on the sitcom Family Ties in the 1980s, she has moved on to producing short films and web series and directing shorts of her own. Her debut short, Five Minutes, which she also wrote, premiered at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival and will soon be seen as part of the short film slate at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York. She also recently finished writing, directing, and producing her second short, Push. Oh, and she apparently found time to write a nonfiction book that is set to be published later this year.

But that’s not all! Bateman is now set to make her feature directorial debut with a script she wrote titled Violet. Olivia Munn, Justin Theroux, and Anthony LaPaglia have all signed on to star in the drama about the title character, a rising film executive (Munn) who makes all of her decisions based on what the voice in her head (Theroux) tells her to do. But soon she realizes that the voice has been lying to her this whole time. She also has a demeaning boss (LaPaglia) eroding her confidence.

Not only does the plot of Violet sound incredibly intriguing, but it also feels perfectly suited to the #MeToo moment that Hollywood finds itself in post-Harvey Weinstein. One wonders if the LaPaglia character in the script is based on Weinstein or some other real-life film executive who is known for his poor treatment of women (after all, there’s no shortage of them to choose from). That the two main voices influencing Violet’s actions — both in her head and in real life — are men feels like a condemnation of the way men constantly seek to control women, especially in the notoriously gender-imbalanced film industry. As a woman with extensive experience both in front of and behind the camera in Hollywood, Bateman probably has a lot to say on those topics, and I for one am eager to hear what she has to say.

The casting announcement for Violet intrigues me as well. I have never been the biggest fan of Olivia Munn, but this project sounds like prime material for her to prove herself as a talent to be reckoned with. One imagines Munn’s own experiences as a woman in Hollywood, including dealing with chronic harassment at the hands of Brett Ratner, will feed into her performance in Violet and only add to the authenticity. And while I was not a fan of Duncan Jones’s Mute, Theroux’s creepy-as-hell performance in the film as a former army medic turned underground doctor (and pedophile whose attraction to children is treated in an unpleasantly comic way) makes me confident that he can pull off something as weird and nefarious as being the lying voice inside someone’s head.

Violet is obviously still in the very early stages of production, but even with the minimal details we have at this time, the film definitely sounds like a project to watch out for. A woman filmmaker directing a feature about a woman film executive is exactly the kind of thing we need more of in Hollywood.

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Director of short films starring a killer toaster, a killer Christmas tree, and a not-killer leopard.