The Assistant — whose original idea came from the Harvey Weinstein scandal — premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in September, is currently at Sundance, and will head to Berlin’s international fest next month. But on Tuesday night, the film screened just a few blocks away from the Manhattan Criminal Court Building, where Weinstein’s sexual assault trial is currently underway.
The Bleecker Street drama showcases a day in the life of Jane (Julia Garner), a junior assistant to a powerful film executive. Said boss is never shown or even mentioned by name throughout the entire film, but he keeps the office on edge one way or another, be it by berating employees on the phone or constantly holding closed-door meetings with attractive young women.
“Almost everything that’s in the movie has been recorded already in the news, but what I wanted was some kind of emotional insight,” director-writer-producer Kitty Green told The Hollywood Reporter. “Like, how it was for people to go through this and what it’s like to be in a position of the least power at a company like that? Or any kind of company that has those sort of problems or has a gender imbalance or is toxic in some way? That was the real proxy of my questions.”
Green’s questions were presented to nearly 100 people, whose answers helped her craft an environment that didn’t necessarily enable bad behavior, but merely tolerated it.
“What does it mean when you see something and let it happen?” said co-producer Rita Walsh. “The system is so stacked against those at the bottom that they’re forced to do things that I don’t think they would necessarily normally do.”
Green expanded on Walsh’s sentiment, explaining that she believes workplaces like the one presented in the film are “constantly dehumanizing people and taking away their humanity and pitting one person against the other and making a really competitive, toxic environment.”
(Excerpt) Read more in: The Hollywood Reporter