In a move that could very easily backfire, director Brian de Palma has announced his plans to write and direct a horror movie based on Harvey Weinstein.
The 77-year-old director behind classic thrillers like Scarface, Dressed to Kill, and Carrie told French publication Le Parisien that he’s partnering up with a French producer (so far unnamed) to work on a film inspired by the Weinstein scandals.
De Palma says he’s in the process of writing the movie, although he prefaces by saying that the main character will not be named Harvey Weinstein. “But it will be a horror movie, with a sexual aggressor,” he tells Le Parisien, “and it will happen in the film industry.”
De Palma’s announcement is the latest in what hopefully does not become a trend: older white men taking the lead in dramatising the scandals that have come to define the #MeToo movement. There’s a number of reasons for this, not the least of which is the fact that the movement is still very much ongoing, considering Weinstein’s sexual misconduct has only just recently made it into the courts, and three women recently came forward to file another class action lawsuit against him for sexual assault.
If we are going to have these stories up onscreen, dramatised or not, they should also be told by women. That is, after all, one of many crucial takeaways of the #MeToo movement: listen to women.
There are already some examples of this cropping up in the post-Time’s Up era that serve as important starting points. Coralie Fargeat’s Revenge, which opened on a limited run last month, has racked up critical acclaim as a gripping horror movie in a which the film’s heroine must fight her way out of a life-or-death situation after being isolated and sexually assaulted on a weekend getaway trip. Documentarian Jennifer Fox released her HBO film The Tale at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, a fictional retelling of her own very real trauma in which she explores the mutability of memory as it relates to her rape as a child.
Quite crucially, Fargeat and Fox have previously explained that though the #MeToo movement lends a timeliness to their work, these films aren’t necessarily inspired by #MeToo alone. Rather, they are products of a lifetime of processing trauma and misogyny, stories that they can speak to with a lived-in honesty that most cis men cannot. It is a simple axiom of storytelling: the storyteller matters as much as the story, because the storyteller makes the story.