Joseph Fiennes quickly fell in love with Miramax after the 1998 Best Picture winner “Shakespeare in Love.”
Fiennes, who would beat out Daniel Day-Lewis to play the titular British playwright, recalled of The Guardian that producer Harvey Weinstein used a shocking “bullying tactic” after the film’s release and subsequent Oscar win. Fiennes was offered a five-picture deal with Miramax, which he turned down.
“I have to be careful here,” Fiennes said, before explaining that Weinstein invited him to his hotel room to aggressively detail the proposed contract. According to Fiennes, Weinstein said “shocking” things and confirmed that he would be entirely responsible for Fiennes’ career going forward. If Fiennes refused, he would never have worked in Hollywood again.
“It was a bullying tactic that didn’t go well,” Fiennes said, noting that she was unaware of the rape and sexual assault allegations against Weinstein at the time; the claims came to light in 2017. “The way he explained it came as a shock to me. But suddenly I sat in the room very present, and happy and strong in myself to say, you know what, I don’t have to. I’m walking away.
Fiennes added that he doesn’t believe splitting from Weinstein ultimately hurt his career.
“I don’t think it helped me. Bad? No, maybe not hurt. But he made it clear that he will not support me, ”the actor said. “He will make a very strong movement not to support me. I was out of the family. But I was very happy that I was not in the family ”.
A rep for the imprisoned Weinstein commented to The independent denying Fiennes’ statement.
“Miramax didn’t offer multi-image offerings and it’s that simple,” the rep said. “Harvey considers Joe a great actor, but he believes he’s remembering incorrectly or trying to use Harvey’s name and current status to get this publicity.”
Kevin Smith, James Gray and M. Night Shyamalan have all talked about the “personal hell” of working with Miramax.