Director Michael Caton-Jones is spilling details in an interview with BuzzFeed on what he knows about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault allegations.
In 1998, Caton-Jones says he selected Sophie Okonedo to be the lead in B. Monkey. He said, “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.”
Caton-Jones said the pick had to be approved by Weinstein, so he and Okonedo flew out to California, where he says “the trouble began.”
“Harvey kept saying to me, ‘Do you think she is f***able?’ That was what the deal was all the time. I said, ‘She is the best actress for the job, Harvey.’ And we started arguing about it. It was only when I said to Harvey, ‘Don’t screw up the casting of this film because you want to get laid,’ whereupon he went mental.”
Caton-Jones said he went to cool off, and Variety was already calling about reports he walked off set.
“I was furious after being kicked off my film, and I told them all about what happened. I told them about the harassment claims, and I said ‘Here is your quote: I don’t cast films according to Harvey Weinstein’s erection,’ and they just laughed.”
A Variety spokesperson told BuzzFeed “they can’t comment on editorial decisions made roughly two decades ago” and that “the publication is under different ownership now, and therefore, we don’t have a comment on previous editorial practices.”
The director concluded, according to Weinstein, “Sophie Okonedo was not f**able and that was it. Find someone who is.”
The actress who was eventually cast, Asia Argento, says she was sexually assaulted by Weinstein.
Caton-Jones ended up departing the film. “I was the stupid one who stood up and told him to go to hell. I stood up to him and told him to go f*ck himself. And I got a lot of support from a lot of people when I did that, but you know, I didn’t make the film, so he won.”