Well, this is an interesting story to cover, having just posted the trailer to Killer Joe. Harvey Weinstien (of The Weinstein Company film studio and co-founder of Miramax) has produced about a gabillion movies, and if you only count the ones by Quentin Tarantino (including the forthcoming tale of revenge, Django Unchained) you’ve already got a handful of some of the most unapologetically violent films the industry has to offer. But perhaps times are a-changin’. In an interview with The Huffington Post Weinstein discussed many things– Obama, the success of the Weinstein‘s The Intouchables, but also the role of filmmakers in violence, especially considering the recent massacre in Colorado. Hear what he has to say about gun control and his movie-making buddies inside.
The Huffington Post has the story:
Harvey Weinstein said Hollywood filmmakers “can’t shirk our responsibility” for depicting violence in popular movies, while insisting that the real lesson of last week’s shootings in Aurora, Colorado, is the need for U.S. politicians to take a stand and regulate access to firearms.
“If we don’t get gun-control laws in this country, we are full of beans,” the Oscar-winning producer told The Huffington Post by phone from Paris. “To have the National Rifle Association rule the United States of America is pathetic. And I agree with Mayor Michael Bloomberg: it’s time to put up or shut up about gun control for both parties. Mitt Romney better outline where he stands, and people know that I’m a firm supporter of the president and I believe he’s got to do the same.”
“It’s a question that I wrestle with all the time,” said Weinstein, who has produced all of director Quentin Tarantino’s blood-spattered films, including the upcoming slave-era revenge fantasy “Django Unchained.” “I’ve been involved with violent movies, and then I’ve also said at a certain point, ‘I can’t take it anymore. Please cut it.’ You know, you’ve got to respect the filmmaker, and it’s a really tough issue. My heart goes out to those kids and those families.”
Weinstein said he hoped that members of the Hollywood community would take this opportunity to have an honest conversation about how on-screen violence influences real-world events. “I think, as filmmakers, we should sit down – the Marty Scorseses, the Quentin Tarantinos, and hopefully all of us who deal in violence in movies – and discuss our role in that.”
Read the rest of the interview here.
I can appreciate much of what Harvey had to say and I think it’s important for people in the industry to keep this conversation going. Like many of us lamented when the tragedy in Colorado first occurred, there’s a really good chance that everyone will be in an uproar over guns and violence and human life… until a more interesting story comes along (like Robsten) and we all forget about what happened not two weeks ago.
But others have criticized Mr. Weinstein– labeling him the pot that calls the kettle black. In fact, when Deadline Hollywood covered this story, they titled it: “Harvey Weinstein, Maker Of Violent Movies, Wants Filmmaker Summit On Violence In Movies.” They saw his position as a publicity stunt, designed to bring attention to more of his projects (like The Intouchables), as opposed to a real attempt at change. The person who covered the story quoted one of his friends in the industry who had this to say about the alleged summit:
Wonderful. It’s going to take place at the corner of Hubris St. and Hypocrisy Blvd, in the city of Sanctimony, right near the Self-Righteous Cineplex.
Lol, they’re not entirely wrong! And, as I said in the recent pop culture post on guns, Moms, and The Dark Knight Rises, if we’re talking about movies (and even guns) as the main problem of these events, we’re cracking at the tip of the iceberg. We’ve got quite a ways to go, but I think it begins with discourse and I welcome any talk on the subject, as long as it leads to some progressive decision-making.