Saturday, November 19, 2022

She Said

Maria Schrader: She Said (US 2022) starring Carey Mulligan (Megan Twohey) and Zoe Kazan (Jodi Kantor).

US © 2022 Universal Pictures. Universal Pictures presents An Annapurna & Plan B Production. P: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner. EX: Brad Pitt, Lila Yacoub, Megan Ellison, Sue Naegle.
    D: Maria Schrader. SC: Rebecca Lenkiewicz – based on the New York Times investigation by Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey and Rebecca Corbett and the book She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement (2019) by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. Cin: Natasha Braier – colour – 1,85:1. PD: Meredith Lippincott. Cost: Brittany Loar. M: Nicholas Britell. Cello: Caitlin Sullivan.
    Music track listing includes: Aarre Merikanto: 4. Pieces No. 3 Arietta (1916).
    Soundtrack includes: authentic audio recording with Harvey Weinstein and Ambra Battilana Gutierrez.
    C: Carey Mulligan (Megan Twohey), Zoe Kazan (Jodi Kantor), Patricia Clarkson (Rebecca Corbett), Andre Braugher (Dean Baquet), Jennifer Ehle (Laura Madden), Samantha Morton (Zelda Perkins), Angela Yeoh (Rowena Chiu), Ashley Judd (As Herself).
    128 min
    Festival premiere: 13 Oct 2022 New York Film Festival
    Finnish premiere: 18 Nov 2022, released by Finnkino with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Iira Tuominen / Joanna Erkkilä.
    Viewed at Finnkino Strand, Iso Kristiina, Lappeenranta, 19 Nov 2022


" Two-time Academy Award® nominee CAREY MULLIGAN (Promising Young Woman, An Education) and Emmy nominee ZOE KAZAN (The Plot Against America, The Big Sick) star as New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, who together broke one of the most important stories in a generation— a story that shattered decades of silence around the subject of sexual assault in Hollywood and impelled a shift in American culture that continues to this day."

"From the Academy Award® winning producers of 12 Years a Slave, Moonlight, Minari, Selma and The Big Short and the Oscar®-nominated producer of Zero Dark Thirty and American Hustle, the film is based on the New York Times investigation by JODI KANTOR, MEGAN TWOHEY and REBECCA CORBETT and the New York Times bestseller, She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey."

"A testament to the incalculable importance of investigative journalism, She Said details the journey of reporters and editors engaged in the unrelenting pursuit of the truth and highlights the courage of survivors and witnesses who chose to come forward to stop an accused serial predator from committing further harm. Together, their commitment and fortitude sparked a global conversation, helped propel the #MeToo movement, and fueled a reckoning of the system that had enabled him."

"At its heart, She Said is an inspiring true story about people, many of them women, many of them mothers, who summoned the courage to speak out and seek justice, not just for themselves but for those in the future, both in the U.S. and around the globe. The film is a compelling, moving reminder of the power of individual people, armed with determination and grit, to, together, change the world.

AA: She Said is the story of one of the most epochal cases of investigative journalism in history.

Against overwhelming odds, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey exposed the decades-long practice of sexual harassment at Miramax Studios by Harvey Weinstein. When that dam broke, suppressed cases of sexual abuse were revealed all over the world.

She Said is a story of standing up against intimidation. The set-up has affinities with the paranoid tradition of the political thriller of the 1970s, but She Said is a post-paranoid drama. It is a tale of liberation, the liberating power of truth.

What I admire most in She Said is its wide perspective, its awareness of the philosophy of history. It is a case study, and a huge one, yet the journalists know that their story is bigger than Weinstein. It is about a system of abuse and harassment with roots going back to the dawn of civilization and before.

The conveyor-belt style sexual abuse of stars and starlets "on the casting couch" flourished during the studio era. I belong to the ones who were shocked to discover that it still survived in contemporary film business. A system with affinities with the lordly privileges in slave societies (including in the Deep South and Classical Antiquity) and feudalism (droit du seigneur). But also with the harem systems of baboons.

We have seen just the tip of the iceberg, and it is important that this tip is impeccably documented, as Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey and their The New York Times editorial support system did in an exemplary way.

Because of the inflammatory nature of the subject the film-makers, including the director Maria Schrader, the screenwriter Rebecca Lenkiewicz and the excellent duo Carey Mulligan (Megan Twohey) and Zoe Kazan (Jodi Kantor) have adopted a sober, mundane approach, avoiding melodrama and emphasis. Because of this, She Said will have a long life as a case study in film schools, journalism schools and contexts of women's rights.

I notice a Covid compliance team in the end credits. She Said belongs to the films that have excellent production values and a highly talented team and cast but a slightly "pandemic phlegmatic" ambience. I know nothing about its production circumstances, but everywhere remote work, breaks in the schedule, sick leaves and long absences mean that the end result is not as engrossing and irresistible as it would normally be. The profound, compelling drive underneath is missing.

Go see this wonderful and intelligent film with your friends. Five years ago something happened, and the world will never be the same again. There is still a lot to discuss and a lot to be done. We have hardly started yet.



Breaking the Dam
An Investigation Ignites a Movement

On Oct. 5, 2017, New York Times investigative reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey broke a page-one story that shook the entertainment industry and reverberated throughout the country: “Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades.”

Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein had long reigned as one of the movie industry’s
most powerful figures. The winner of six best picture Oscars® and the producer of such films
as Sex, Lies and Videotape, Pulp Fiction and Good Will Hunting, Weinstein was a man whose
tremendous clout could easily make or break careers, and for years, Kantor and Twohey
reported, he allegedly used that clout to harass and coerce women into sexual encounters.
In 3,321 carefully researched words, the journalists detailed previously undisclosed
allegations of wrongdoing stretching back three decades. Their reporting was thoroughly
documented through interviews with Weinstein’s current and former employees and film
industry workers, as well as legal records, emails and internal documents from the
businesses that the larger-than-life executive had run, Miramax and the Weinstein
Company, both long-dominant brands in Hollywood. Their findings were unimpeachable.
Through dogged perseverance and the cooperation of many courageous survivors and other
brave sources, they had at last revealed the truth.

Whispers of wrongdoing had circulated around Weinstein for years, but journalists
who had attempted to ferret out the truth behind those rumors had been met with
reluctance from sources and harsh intimidation tactics from Weinstein. Survivors were often
too afraid to come forward or were prevented from doing so by settlements and non-
disclosure agreements. Even if they had come forward, there was little historical evidence
that it would matter. Throughout much of American (and global) history, women who came
forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against powerful men were often labeled
delusional, jilted, greedy or liars. The men stayed in power. The women were ignored or
disgraced. So, despite attempts by established journalists throughout Weinstein’s Hollywood
reign, the sanctum of silence around him—and men like him—remained intact. No one had
been able to get to the heart of the story.

Twohey and Kantor’s unique combination of wealth of knowledge and experience—
and their fierce commitment to bringing misdeeds to light—uniquely positioned them as a
team to undertake the months-long investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct
levied against Weinstein.

Throughout their careers, Twohey and Kantor had dedicated themselves to holding
the powerful to account, and in particular, protecting women and children. In 2016,
Twohey’s reporting gave voice to the women who accused Donald J. Trump of groping and
other sexual misconduct. She uncovered a dangerous underground network, where parents
gave away unwanted adopted children. She had exposed sex-abusing doctors and the
systems that allowed them to practice. She was also one of the first journalists to reveal
how police and prosecutors were shelving DNA evidence collected after sex crimes, robbing
victims of their chance for justice. Her stories have sent predators to prison and ushered in
new legal protections for victims.

Kantor’s reporting on working mothers and breastfeeding inspired two readers to
create free-standing lactation suites for nursing mothers, now available in airports and other
locations across the country. Her article about the havoc caused by automated scheduling
systems in Starbucks workers’ lives helped spark a national fair-scheduling movement. Her
stories on Amazon have had repeated impact: After she and David Streitfeld revealed
punishing practices at corporate headquarters in 2015, the company introduced paternity
leave. By investigating a Staten Island warehouse in 2021, Kantor, Karen Weise and Grace
Ashford found serious problems with the company’s employment systems, including 150
percent yearly turnover and a history of pay mistakes and erroneous terminations, including
for workers on parental leave. Employees at the warehouse drew on the information in the
course of winning a historic unionization vote.

Together, Kantor and Twohey’s Weinstein investigation, edited by Rebecca Corbett,
led a wave of reporting, including Ronan Farrow’s own investigation published in The New
Yorker that same month, about allegations against Weinstein. In the weeks and months that
followed, even more women would come forward to share their stories about harrowing
encounters with Weinstein and with other men in positions of power. The #MeToo
movement, founded by activist Tarana Burke in 2006, became linked with these stories and
quickly became a national, and then global, rallying cry, amplifying the voices of the tens of
thousands of survivors of harassment and abuse worldwide. It was as if a dam had suddenly
broken. After decades in which many credible allegations of mistreatment, and even rape,
had fallen on deaf ears, more people had finally begun to listen to, and to believe, women.
Kantor and Twohey’s reporting would go on to earn a Pulitzer Prize for public service
and would lead to their 2019 best-selling book about their investigation, She Said.

For This Generation and the Next
The Story Becomes a Film

Just months after Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s investigation broke in the New
York Times, in April 2018, producers Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner from Plan B
Entertainment and executive producers Megan Ellison and Sue Naegle from Annapurna
Pictures secured the film rights to the story. “Jodi and Megan’s investigation was such a
watershed moment, not just for the film industry but for the entire culture, that it felt like a
story that demanded to be told on film,” says Dede Gardner. “It felt like a once-in-a-
generation moment of reckoning on an issue that has affected, and continues to affect, the
lives of millions of women and men, and we were honored that Jodi and Megan trusted us to
tell this story on screen.”

It was also a story with resonance beyond just the facts of the investigation. “So
many of the women in this story, including Jodi and Megan, are mothers,” Gardner says.
“Jodi and Megan’s primary job, of course, was to tell the truth and to get it right, but
underneath that ethical, journalistic drive is a deeper emotional element. For both them and
the survivors and witnesses who spoke with them, the hope was to seek justice. While we
are still a far cry from insuring against this type of behavior in the future, it felt essential to
try and include Jodi and Megan’s journalism in the canon we are all trying to leave for our

For the journalists, placing their trust in the filmmakers represented a leap of faith.
Both Twohey and Kantor were encouraged by the fact that Plan B had a proven history
adapting stories based on real people and events, including 12 Years a Slave, Selma and
The Big Short. Still, they sought assurances that the story of the investigation would be
told truthfully and respectfully. “From the first moment we spoke to Dede and Jeremy, we
were just blown away,” Twohey says. “We were impressed not only with their track record
in making high-quality, meaningful films, but also with their commitment to wanting to tell
this story as accurately and with as much integrity as possible. As journalists, those things
were hugely important to us.” Adds Kantor: “We really believe that the story belongs to
people all over the world, especially women all over the world.”

Gardner and Kleiner, from their conversations with Twohey and Kantor, had a bold
and somewhat counter-intuitive idea for the ending of the film—that it should end with a
sudden and dramatic climax, rather than with a denouement. “Everyone knows what
happened after Jodi and Megan’s first story ran,” Gardner says. “What everyone doesn’t
know, and what this film is about, is what it took, from everyone involved, for that first
story to run. The ending was a gamble, but we stayed true to that vision from the
beginning. The ending, we think, speaks to the power of the moment.”

With the film rights secured, the producers began their search for a screenwriter to
adapt the story for the screen. “Above all, we wanted this story to be told with integrity and
honesty,” Jeremy Kleiner says. “Dede and I knew that we wanted to keep the focus of the
story on the investigation and the survivors and witnesses, and we wanted a screenwriter
who could somehow marry a fiercely emotional and thematic point of view, with a deeply
technical and forensic prowess.”

The search led them to lauded British playwright and screenwriter Rebecca
Lenkiewicz, whose work in the theater and on films such as Ida and Disobedience felt like
the right match. “Rebecca is able to take situations in which deep themes are at play and
make them extremely personal and visceral,” Kleiner says. “We wanted to be inside of this
investigation and the feelings of the investigation. We believed that Rebecca could do that,
and do it with some unexpected structural touches, which is a feature of her work.”
Lenkiewicz was honored to write it. “This was seismic story,” Lenkiewicz says. “I felt
the importance of the investigation and its outcome on both a deeply personal and on a
global scale. I admired the courage and resilience of the survivors keenly and the strength
and determination of the journalists. I felt this story could be both empowering and
inspiring despite its dark subject.”

Kantor and Twohey were working on their book when Lenkiewicz first met with them
in preparation for the screenplay. “I started writing the script on the basis of our
conversations and very soon they sent me chapters and drafts of the book,” Lenkiewicz
says. “I started to weave the book’s detail and their perspective into the screenplay. I
included some verbatim dialogue. The bravery and resilience of the survivors was key to the
script as was the journalists’ absolute respect for them and their determination to get this
story out. It had been silenced for decades. Aside from the book, I added snippets of the
journalists’ personal see how people are in their own homes versus how they
present at work or in ‘public.’”

Over the next three years, Gardner and Kleiner worked with Lenkiewicz, Kantor and
Twohey to establish the framework, the intention and the guidelines for how this story
would be told. Harvey Weinstein himself would not be shown on screen. No assaults against
women would be depicted in the film and the description of any assaults would come from
the survivors’ own voices and/or language. “Working with Rebecca and Jodi and Megan, the
screenplay went through multiple drafts, and we were constantly honing for accuracy and
depth,” Gardner says. The producers also established contacts and relationships with
survivors and witnesses themselves. “It was vitally important to us to make sure that the
real people in this story were a part of the process,” Gardner says. “It could and would only
ever make the story more accurate, authentic and richer on every level.”

The film chronicles not only Kantor and Twohey’s painstaking research and reporting,
but information about their private lives, including Twohey’s battle with postpartum
depression after the birth of her daughter. For these two veteran journalists, to suddenly be
the subjects of a story was a little disorienting at first. “We have such an unusual
relationship to this production,” Kantor says. “For this to be made into a movie, we had to
relinquish some control of the material. That’s not necessarily so easy when the material is
so delicate. We are depicted on screen, and the film is adapted from a book that we wrote,
so we have this dual presence in the project, yet it is not a film that we made. This is not
produced by The New York Times. We’re both used to having control of every comma and
semicolon in every article we write. Watching another writer take on that voice was very
new for us.”

After Lenkiewicz completed her initial draft, she, Gardner and Kleiner met with
Twohey and Kantor inside a New York Times conference room to go through the screenplay
in detail. The meeting took place on the eve of the pandemic, in February 2020, just before
Harvey Weinstein was convicted by a New York grand jury. As it turned out, She Said would
be the first feature film of this scale ever to be shot on location inside the New York Times
newsroom. “One of the rare silver linings of the pandemic was that the Times delayed their
return to work,” Gardner says. “We saw an opening to possibly shoot in the actual building
and we made it a top priority to make that happen.”

The reporters wanted the film to honestly portray the inner workings of the Times
and the important roles played by editors including Rebecca Corbett, who shepherded the
Weinstein reporting, and Dean Baquet, who also offered invaluable support and guidance to
the journalists. “There just aren’t a lot of accurate representations of what it’s like to work
at The New York Times in popular culture,” Kantor says. “Also, we’re working in a time
when journalists are harassed, criticized, attacked, not trusted, branded with labels like
‘fake news.’ The New York Times is not perfect. The journalists here are not perfect. But we
do believe in the sincerity and professionalism of the place and the sacred pursuit of truth,
and we wanted any film to represent our workplace as we see it and our colleagues as we
see them.” Adds Twohey: “It wasn’t just a matter of wanting to make sure that the
journalists from the New York Times were depicted with accuracy and integrity, but that our
sources were as well, these women, these survivors and other people who were brave
enough to participate in the investigation.”

By the beginning of 2021, Lenkiewicz’s screenplay was largely complete, and the
search began for a director. One clear candidate stood out from the crowd: Maria Schrader.
Both an actor and a filmmaker, Schrader was drawn to the expansiveness and specificity of
Lenkiewicz’s script and the depth of the story’s emotional layers. “I was blown away by the
script—its complexity, intelligence, its bold choices in terms of truthfully sticking to the
detailed process of investigative journalism, and by the sheer number of characters who
appear and contribute to the story,” Schrader says. “Rebecca’s script made clear that this
film wasn’t primarily about Weinstein but about the journalists and all the women who stood
up to tell their stories. This was about something larger than Hollywood.”

From Page to Screen
Capturing Truth On Camera

Filmmaker Maria Schrader faced a series of unique challenges in bringing She Said to
the screen. To begin, she needed to faithfully represent the lived experiences of the two
journalists, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, at the center of the narrative and the
complexities of their investigation. “This is a story about how important investigative
journalism can be,” Schrader says. “Depicting what it takes—the level of dedication, the
research, the perseverance—as well as the impact it can have, was an important end in
itself. I wanted to bring an audience into the experience of the reporters investigating this
complex story, with all the twists and turns, successes and setbacks—as well as the
personal stakes—that Jodi and Megan went through.”

That meant finding a way to dramatize the actual newsgathering—a labor-intensive
process involving making phone calls, sending emails, securing and reviewing documents,
sitting through intensive meetings with editors—in a way that felt both truthful and
entertaining. To do that, she and the film’s producers referred back to certain conventions
established by outstanding investigative thrillers that had come before, principally 1976’s
Best Picture nominee All the President’s Men and 2015’s Best Picture winner, Spotlight.

“Our film certainly serves the genre aspects—the stakes, the paranoia, the endless
brick walls,” Schrader says. “It’s a very dramatic story, with strong characters up against
steep odds and a powerful antagonist, crisscrossing the globe and jumping back and forth in
time. This material was so rich to begin with, the task was teasing out its particulars, not
heightening or overdramatizing what was already there.”

As important as it was for the filmmakers to represent the veracity of the story, She
Said is not a documentary. Through narrative storytelling, the filmmakers hoped to capture
a deeper emotional truth—illuminating, as Schrader says, “the blank spaces between the
words—the emotion, the personal stakes, the doubt, the immediate experience, the things
left unsaid, the images, faces, body language, behavior.”

Notably, the film does not depict assault on screen and any assault that is described
is told using the survivor’s own language. “I am not interested in adding another rape scene
to the world,” Schrader says. “We’ve had enough of them.” And Harvey Weinstein himself
plays an exceedingly limited role. The film includes only an audio recording featuring his
voice, and for the limited scenes in which he appears in the film, he’s shown only from
behind. The audience never sees the face of the actor playing him. “Our source material
here was the book and the lives of the reporters,” Schrader says. “Their perspectives and
experiences and the testimony of those they spoke to were our guides. Weinstein is hardly
on screen, but his presence is certainly felt, and his actions are driving much of the film. I
imagine that this is how it was for Jodi and Megan as they were reporting. They didn’t have
much contact with Weinstein, either.”

As Schrader and the filmmakers assembled the department heads for the production,
they looked for the strongest candidates available, pulling together a majority-female
creative team. “Our main goal was to find the best people to make this film,” Schrader says.
“This story is about women standing up, speaking out, and claiming their power, and it felt
right to have women lead the effort in bringing it to the screen. That being said, I am eager
for the day to come when a female-led team will be unremarkable.”

Impact and Aftermath
How One Story Shook The World

On Oct. 8, 2017, just three days after the initial New York Times story by Jodi Kantor
and Megan Twohey had run, the Weinstein Co. announced that Harvey Weinstein had been
fired effective immediately. On May 31, 2018, a New York grand jury indicted Weinstein on
charges of rape and a criminal sexual act. On Feb. 24, 2020, he was found guilty of a
criminal sexual act in the first degree and third-degree rape; on March 11, 2020, the then-
67-year-old was sentenced to 23 years in prison.

A second trial, in which Weinstein faces 11 charges of rape and sexual assault
involving five alleged victims, began in Los Angeles on Oct. 10, 2022. In August 2022,
Weinstein was granted an appeal for his New York conviction. Oral arguments will likely take
place next year. In both the New York and Los Angeles cases, Weinstein has continued to
deny any wrongdoing and claims that he only engaged in consensual sex.

Thanks to Twohey and Kantor’s work, subsequent reporting by others and the global
crescendo of the #MeToo movement, Hollywood’s culture has changed in a variety of ways.
More survivors have come forward, powerful men accused of assault and harassment have
been terminated from their positions and/or prosecuted, and the industry has held more of
its own to sharp account. It’s also now common practice for film and television productions
to hire intimacy coordinators to be present on set on any day where scenes of a sexual
nature are being filmed to safeguard the actors.

“The impact of the article and the subsequent movement has been enormous,” says
director Maria Schrader. “Of course, there are the obvious changes—the way studios, film
festivals, organizations, have made conscious efforts to diversify the filmmakers and
storytellers they are uplifting and giving opportunities to.” But the waves of change have
extend beyond Hollywood, too. “Perhaps, the more consequential change is the way that
both men and women are reconsidering their personal experiences of sexual harassment or
abuse,” Schrader says. “It’s on this more personal, intimate level that I think the change
has been really tremendous. We are freer to share our own experiences; the light seems to
have been let in, and we are all adjusting accordingly. I do think we all are more discerning
about our own behavior and the behavior of the people around us. I imagine that this is
going to be passed down to our children, and beyond.”

Globally, we see the ripple effects around the world, as women speak out and stand
up against injustice and discrimination. The filmmakers and cast hope that She Said will
help foster a broader understanding of the importance of investigative journalism at a
turbulent moment in our collective culture when reporters often find themselves under
attack. As evidenced time and time again, truthful reporting can raise awareness and spark
real change. “It’s our job to build people’s confidence in telling the truth, and our greatest
hope is that this film could in some way aid in that,” says Jodi Kantor. Adds Megan Twohey:
“My hope is that this film not only highlights the systemic failures that have allowed
harassment and abuse to be so pervasive, but that it also is an inspiring example of how
brave individuals, and the truth, can bring about incredible change.”

For the stars of She Said, the opportunity to be a part of the film mattered beyond
their work as actors and storytellers. “The thing that’s most meaningful to me is watching
these two women, Jodi and Megan, work so diligently, with such iron-clad standards, to
craft a story that is airtight—a story that no one can question—to support these women
whom they had asked to come forward,” says Zoe Kazan, who plays Jodi Kantor. “Getting to
see that happen, to see how that gets built, bit by bit and with great leaps of faith, to see
the bravery of the survivors who are coming forward and what that costs them to come
forward and what that gives them to come forward, that was all tremendously meaningful to
me. It extends far past Hollywood.”

Carey Mulligan, who plays Megan Twohey, was moved by the collective courage it
required to make this story a reality. “It’s inspiring to see women being so heroic and
putting themselves on the line,” Mulligan says. “This film is full of examples of those heroic
moments, which makes it a story worth telling.”


Megan Twohey
Carey Mulligan

In October of 2016, nearly one year to the date that the Weinstein story broke,
Megan Twohey had shared a byline with reporter Michael Barbaro on an article detailing
allegations that then-presidential candidate Donald Trump had initiated unwanted sexual
contact with two women years prior. Subsequently, Twohey had found herself a target of
Trump’s most ardent supporters, and she received numerous threats to her physical safety.
But Twohey wasn’t someone who allowed herself to be cowed by intimidation tactics. The
daughter of journalists (her father who worked for the Chicago Tribune and the Washington
Post, her mother in broadcast news), Twohey never wavered in her commitment to pursuing
the truth about any powerful figure or organization. Rather, she had consistently
demonstrated a stalwart fearlessness when confronting wrongdoers and a genuine warmth
and empathy when speaking to those they had harmed.

That unique combination of traits so impressed two-time Academy Award®-nominee
Carey Mulligan that she agreed to portray Twohey in She Said. “Making the film was an
attempt to get my head around the psychology that you need to have to be an investigative
journalist,” Mulligan says. ““With Megan, it felt to me that journalism is a vocation for her.
It’s not a job. She couldn’t have done anything else. It’s incredible, the balls that you have
to have to show up on someone’s doorstep, knock on the door and say, ‘I’m here to ask you
about something that’s probably the biggest secret in your life. I want you to tell me that
and trust me that you telling me that can change things or make things better.’”

Mulligan also felt a strong personal connection to one specific aspect of Twohey’s
personal life. Both battled postpartum depression following the birth of their daughters, and
for both, work became a critical conduit back to a healthy equilibrium. The Weinstein story
was the first investigation Twohey undertook following her maternity leave.

“When I was releasing Suffragette seven years ago, my daughter was about three
weeks old, and I had to go and do a press tour to promote the film,” Mulligan says. “For the
first three weeks, I cried every day. I almost bailed on the entire thing, but then I realized,
‘I need to do this and crack on.’ Things became a lot better because of my work and the
community of work, the people that you get to be around. It lifted me out of something.
When I read the script, I thought, ‘I’ve lived that.’ That part of it felt very familiar.”
In preparation, Mulligan read many of the stories that Twohey had reported, and she
listened to interviews and podcasts in which Twohey had discussed specific investigations,
including those depicted in She Said. Mulligan and her family also spent time with Twohey
and her husband and daughter, hanging out together in Brooklyn, where Twohey lives and
where Mulligan relocated for the shoot. Her aimeen." was to get a sense of the woman who
existed outside of the newsroom.

“I asked Megan a million questions,” Mulligan says. “She’s so confident, and she has
this calmness about her. She can tell a story, and she’s funny, but she’s very dry. She is
deeply passionate about things, but she’s not emotional. The majority of characters I’ve
played spend the entire film crying, so for me, it was like, ‘Alright! we’re going to do one
where there’s no tears.’ She feels very intensely, but it doesn’t live on the surface—I
wanted that to come across.”

For Twohey, it felt strange to lay bare so many details of her own life, but she was
pleased with how Mulligan embodied her. “As reporters, we’re used to being the ones doing
the observing and doing the storytelling, so to have some of those dynamics flipped around,
I will confess, made me a bit self-conscious,” Twohey says. “But when I saw the film, it was
remarkable to see all that research expressed on screen."

Jodi Kantor
Zoe Kazan

Growing up in Staten Island, New York, and in New Jersey as the granddaughter of
Holocaust survivors, Jodi Kantor was consumed with questions about wrongdoing. As a kid,
she inhaled the newspaper every day as a portal to a wider world. After dropping out of law
school to pursue journalism, Kantor, by 28, had landed a job at the New York Times, editing
the Arts & Leisure section. But her true passion was reporting, and she was particularly
interested in issues of gender, even though, at the time, some people told her that the beat
would be a journalistic backwater.

Kantor was becoming a reporter at the same time she became a mother, and as she
raised her two daughters, her work as a journalist and her work as parent began to meld.
She saw how journalism could be an avenue for cultural debate and social change, and she
devoted her professional life to work that could make an impact on inequality and injustice.
In the years that she’d spent as an investigative reporter prior to the Weinstein
story, Kantor had used gender as a lens through which to reveal secrets about the
workplace culture and to call attention to all manner of unequal and unfair treatment. “For
years, I have chased the question of what are the power dynamics between employers and
employees and what factors are holding back women in the workplace?” Kantor says.
“Gender is not only a topic unto itself, but it’s also like an investigative can opener—if you
understood what women were really experiencing in an organization, you could see how
power really worked.”

This passion and perspective inspired Kantor to suggest to her editors that she
investigate Weinstein. It turned about to be a challenge unlike any other before in her
career. “My job is to build people’s confidence in telling the truth, but with the Weinstein
story, we ran into a wall of fear,” Kantor says. During the investigation, Kantor was targeted
by Israeli ex-military operatives who tried to dupe her on Weinstein’s behalf. And although
Kantor had few contacts in the entertainment industry at the beginning of the reporting
process, she connected and formed strong bonds with Zelda Perkins, Laura Madden, Ashley
Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow and Amy Israel, building their belief in the investigation, and she
convinced Irwin Reiter, Weinstein’s accountant of 30 years, to provide key information.
Cast to play Kantor was actor and writer Zoe Kazan, whose work includes the
acclaimed limited series The Plot Against America, the Oscar-nominated comedy The Big
Sick, the award-winning limited series Olive Kitteridge, for which she received an Emmy
nomination, and the film Ruby Sparks, which Kazan starred in, wrote and executive

She Said marks the third artistic collaboration for Kazan and Carey Mulligan, who first met and became friends in 2008 while starring in The Seagull on Broadway. A decade later, Mulligan starred in Wildlife, which Kazan adapted from the Richard Ford novel with the film’s director, her husband Paul Dano. For Kazan, the opportunity to work with Mulligan again was an enormous draw, particularly given the close relationship between their characters in the film.

“We felt the partnership of Jodi and Megan was one of the important parts of the story that we wanted to tell,” Kazan says. “It’s something that you get to see very rarely on screen. I mean, it’s very rare that you get to act with another woman, period—let alone be in an onscreen partnership. The symbiosis between these two women and what they were able to achieve by leaning on each other and balancing off each other’s intelligence and integrity and perseverance was inspiring to me.”

To get to know one another, Kazan and Kantor met for dinner in Brooklyn, near where they both live, and subsequently spent more time together prior to the start of filming. “The most important thing about meeting Jodi was just getting a sense of her as a person,” Kazan says. “All the details that I would want to know of their journalistic practice is in their incredible book. I had questions like, ‘What is your childcare situation? How do you sit when you’re interviewing someone? Do you bring a notebook? Are you bringing a recorder?’ I really wanted to know the practicalities of her life. I wasn’t studying her mannerisms or trying to imitate her voice. It was more about exposing myself deeply to the qualities that Jodi herself carries around in the world—her acute intelligence, her empathy and her dogged perseverance and her deep sense of needing to right wrongs.”
In particular, Kantor appreciated the sincerity that Kazan conveyed onscreen. “Journalists are sometimes depicted as opportunists, or much worse, and I am grateful to Zoe for conveying the devotion so many of us try to bring to this work,” Kantor says.

Kantor was also grateful to Kazan for the clarity with which the actor explained her portrayal. “Zoe was a really generous and clear guide,” Kantor says. “One of the things she told me from the outset was that she wasn’t playing the exact me. There are definitely things about the real me that she drew upon, but she also said that there are things she mined from her own life experiences and emotions for the role.”

Still, Kantor says, there are scenes—including when Ashley Judd tells Kantor she will go on the record—in which Kazan captured exactly what the real journalist felt. And Kantor also found that even in slightly fictionalized scenes, Kazan captured the relationship between her work and her role as a mother. “The kids are distracting from the work but also fueling it,” Kantor says. “It’s pretty rare to see a combination of work and parenting portrayed realistically onscreen, and I’m so grateful for the dignity and sensitivity that Zoe brought to all of it.”

Rebecca Corbett
Patricia Clarkson

Rebecca Corbett, assistant managing editor at the New York Times at the time of the investigation and now the Times’ investigations editor, has a long and impressive history of shepherding Pulitzer Prize-winning investigations. Prior to her New York Times tenure, she spent two decades at The Baltimore Sun. A formidable intellect with keen journalistic  instincts, she cuts an imposing figure; she has an unflagging work ethic and will go to any lengths necessary to ensure the integrity of an investigation. The night before the Weinstein story was published, Corbett worked until 7 a.m., judiciously reviewing every word of the text to ensure the article was as clear and concise as possible.

In the film, Corbett is played by Patricia Clarkson. “I spoke to several people who know Rebecca and have worked with her—it was moving and informative,” Clarkson says.

“She is revered but there’s also an everyday, working-woman quality that I wanted to make sure was also present in this character.” Clarkson is also a self-professed “news junkie.”

Having the opportunity to experience “the innerworkings of a journalistic life was kind of a fantasy of mine,” Clarkson says.

Clarkson opted not to meet with Corbett prior to filming. Rather than basing her portrayal on the real person, Clarkson wanted to more organically invent the character she found on the pages of Lenkiewicz’s screenplay, someone motivated by a powerful internal drive and an unwavering commitment to support Twohey and Kantor.

“I made a choice because I don't want to play someone, I want to be someone—and that’s hard enough when you’re portraying these actual figures and quite heroic figures in life,” Clarkson says. “I wanted to think of her as some extension of me, but I really did have to call on the best parts of myself to capture her, the methodical way she has about her—and her belief in these remarkable women who had their own difficult lives at the time when she met them. She had to navigate those waters with them, and she did.”

Dean Baquet
Andre Braugher

In his role as the New York Times’ executive editor at the time of the investigation, Dean Baquet oversaw all the operations of the newsroom, not just the paper’s in-depth investigations. For Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey and Rebecca Corbett, though, Baquet served as an important champion who set out to create an environment in which the journalists and editors were free to do their best work, advising them when necessary and shielding them from external pressures as they went after such a complex story. In the film, he’s portrayed by Andre Braugher.

“The quality that struck me most about Dean was his desire to promote excellence in writing, excellence in journalism and his calm leadership,” Braugher says. “I wanted to capture his desire to impart upon everyone who worked with him that same sort of integrity, that same rigorousness of intellect necessary to tell the story correctly.”

To prepare for the role, Braugher watched The Fourth Estate, the 2018 documentary series about The New York Times’ coverage of the White House, which included an interview with Baquet. That footage helped Braugher shape the man he found on the pages of the screenplay and in Twohey and Kantor’s book. “I think Dean recognized and acknowledged the enormous toll that this kind of investigative reporting took on the reporters—and how important it is not simply to fill-up columns of a newspaper but also to, dare I say, change the world,” Braugher says.

Laura Madden
Jennifer Ehle

Irish-born Laura Madden was fighting breast cancer in Swansea, Wales, when the past came calling. Madden received a series of messages from a former colleague reminiscing about their time working for Harvey Weinstein and wondering whether she’d heard from any “cockroach journalists sniffing around for stories.” Soon after, Jodi Kantor phoned Madden, wondering if Madden would be willing to discuss her experiences as a former Miramax employee.

Motivated by a strong desire to set an example for her own daughters—and to potentially protect other women from sexual assault—Madden ultimately became one of the brave survivors who went on the record in Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s story. In the film, she is played by Jennifer Ehle. “We wanted to show that our character of Laura is a passionate mother and also is someone who in her life and work has chosen to not live in the public eye, who doesn’t have a public persona,” Ehle says. “Every person who came forward showed great personal courage and for our character of Laura, a part of that courage was having to choose to step into public focus and scrutiny.”

Ehle had read Twohey and Kantor’s book when it was published and found it to be inspiring, so she was eager to take on the role of Madden in She Said. “I felt it was a deep honor to be asked to be a part of telling the story of these compassionate, tenacious journalists and the courageous sources who came forward,” Ehle says, adding that she felt a special creative kinship with filmmaker Maria Schrader. “To work on any story that an extraordinary director and a group of extremely talented, passionate people are truly inspired to be telling is always an experience to treasure.”

Zelda Perkins
Samantha Morton

Zelda Perkins was a young assistant at Miramax’s London offices when a fellow
employee, Rowena Chiu, confided in her that Chiu had been assaulted by Harvey Weinstein.

According to reporting by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey in their 2017 New York Times story and then for their 2019 book, Perkins furiously confronted Weinstein and then reported his behavior to higher-ups at the company. Rather than act against Weinstein, Miramax executives instead coerced Perkins into signing a non-disclosure agreement, prohibiting her from discussing what she knew with anyone, even her family. She eventually decided to leave the entertainment industry.

For two decades, according to Kantor and Twohey’s reporting, Perkins abided by the terms of that agreement, a tool Weinstein reportedly used frequently to muzzle anyone he thought might reveal his behavior to the press, or to the authorities.

Despite her settlement agreement, Perkins bravely spoke with Jodi Kantor on background for months for the initial 2017 New York Times investigation. (In the film this timeline is compressed.) Perkins read materials to Kantor related to her own NDA that proved invaluable to the investigation.

Perkins is played by Samantha Morton in the film.

Morton was familiar with Kantor and Twohey’s reporting before she was approached about the role, and she had met Perkins previously, long before being cast in the film. In deciding to take on the role, Morton says she felt a tremendous weight of responsibility to ensure that her performance was truthful and respectful. “It’s a very powerful thing Zelda did,” Morton says. “I felt very honored to be playing Zelda. It’s important, I think, for these women to be championed.”

Rowena Chiu
Angela Yeoh

Rowena Chiu was an assistant in the London offices for Miramax in 1998 when, as she stated in the book by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, Harvey Weinstein attempted to rape her at the Venice Film Festival that year. She confided the assault to her colleague, Zelda Perkins, who in turn, confronted Weinstein. Under duress, Chiu and Perkins signed iron-clad non-disclosure agreements and were warned to never speak of it again. In the years that followed her assault, Chiu has said she struggled to overcome the emotional devastation of the trauma she had experienced and her forced silence. Ultimately, she left the film business, married and built a new life in California, though she never told her husband about what had transpired in Italy years prior. Although Chiu did not speak to Kantor and Twohey for their 2017 story, in 2019, she did speak with them for their book. In the film, this timeline is compressed and Chiu is played by Angela Yeoh.

“I wanted to make sure both Rowena’s resilience and vulnerability shone through,” Yeoh says. “I wanted to capture her strength and grace and to convey the nuance and complexity of dealing with a traumatic experience of abuse, including the difficult choice to finally speak up.”

Yeoh brought a unique perspective to the project. She spent her twenties working as an international journalist in Brazil, France and China. “I’ve always been passionate about the power of storytelling to shine light in dark places, surprise people, reveal truth, and inspire change.” She’s also a survivor of abuse herself.

In preparing for the role, Yeoh says, “playing a real-life living survivor on such an important story, I felt an even greater responsibility to do my utmost to honor Rowena’s truth. I watched and read as many of her interviews as I could find. I hired a voice coach to check my preparation was accurate. I drew on my own experience of abusive dynamics. And I was fortunate getting to meet Rowena too."

Prior to filming, Yeoh and Chiu were able to meet face-to-face and share “common experiences growing up in an immigrant household: navigating parental expectations, generational differences, cultural divides, and both painful and humorous misunderstandings,” Yeoh says.

When they met in London, where Chiu was visiting family, Yeoh picked a café in central London for their breakfast meeting. At their meeting began, Chiu alerted Yeoh to an eerie and completely accidental coincidence. The restaurant they were sitting in, indeed the very table the waiter had seated them at, was directly across the road from the gate to the old offices for Miramax in London. “It was a location Rowena had not revisited since 1998,” Yeoh says. “I was stunned, absolutely gobsmacked. The universe seems to work in mysterious ways.”

During their conversations, Yeoh was struck by Chiu’s strength, humor, eloquence and intellect. “The more I got to know Rowena, the sadder I felt that she had left the film industry,” Yeoh says. “I wonder what kind of stories we would have gained had Rowena and Zelda—both aspiring producers of such strength, integrity and passion—been able to stay working in film.”

Ashley Judd
As Herself

The most well-known actor who chose to go on the record about her experiences in Twohey and Kantor’s 2017 report, Ashley Judd served as an anchor for the story, and her decision to speak publicly helped persuade many of the other women to lend their voices to the investigation. Once the film adaptation of She Said was heading into production, the filmmakers invited her to participate. Ultimately, Judd agreed to play herself in the film.


To create the world of She Said, production designer Meredith Lippincott channeled her inner journalist, interviewing Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor and observing them in their respective homes so that she might create the right sorts of environments for actors Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan to inhabit on screen. Lippincott wanted to get a sense of the similarities and differences between Kantor and Twohey, to learn what compelled them to become journalists and to get a feel for who they were by studying everything from their home décor to the appliances they used in their daily routines. The aim was to create a solid base for the film’s design that was heavily researched, precise and immersive.

“The film has so much to do with the universality of being a woman in a male-dominated work environment, but it also highlights the distinct differences between these women’s lived experiences,” Lippincott. “Jodi and Megan at the start of the film are at different places in their personal lives and we wanted to reflect that—Jodi already has two children and owns her place with her husband Ron Lieber, who is also a journalist at the New York Times. Megan is on the journey to finding her husband Vadim Rutman. Over the course of the film, we see Megan become a new parent and how that shifts her physical and mental environments.”

Lippincott also took great pains to present the homes of the survivors in a truthful and straightforward way to show “that these were regular people with families and jobs and ordinary concerns and active lives,” Lippincott says. “We again approached the design of these homes with an eye toward realism and detail, so we see that Jodi and Megan are speaking to real people in real homes and interrupting real lives. We see that these women had to set aside real obligations and responsibilities to tell their stories.”

To capture most of the scenes set inside the New York Times offices, the production shot inside the newspaper’s Midtown Manhattan offices for two weeks. “The Times was an enthusiastic partner in the making of the movie and gave us the opportunity to shoot in their gorgeous building in Times Square,” explains director Maria Schrader. “It’s the first time they’ve let a film of this scale shoot there.”

At the time, many of the reporters, editors and other staff were still working from home because of the Covid-19 pandemic, so the filmmakers were working in a largely empty space, albeit one that had been preserved like a time capsule dating to the spring of 2020. “There was a real eeriness when we were scouting the building—hundreds of desks left untouched, copies of newspapers from March of 2020 still sitting there, turning yellow,” Schrader recalls. “It was like Pompeii.”

For Lippincott, it was a research gold mine. “I spent a lot of time in the Investigative Journalism department where Jodi and Megan’s actual desks are, getting a feel for their individual workspaces,” Lippincott says. “It’s wonderfully visually chaotic in the investigative department. There’s paperwork everywhere—reporters are working on long-form, serious pieces. The research quickly piles up and keeps piling up. There is a great deal of storytelling on display in the stacks of paperwork and books. It has a look that is entirely different from the newspaper's other departments.”

Rather than shooting in the actual Investigative Journalism area, however, the filmmakers instead recreated the department inside the area that typically houses the Culture section. “The layout and natural light in the Culture section was more conducive to shooting the scenes, and it gave us total control to design the space where so much of the movie takes place,” says Lippincott, who also designed an exact replica of the New York Times’ conference rooms and hallway—down to the carpet tiles—that was built on a nearby soundstage for scenes that couldn’t be completed during the two-week location shoot.

 She Said required Lippincott to create 100 sets that spanned 20 years and three continents, most of which were created within a 50-mile radius of New York City.

 Some limited second-unit work took place in Los Angeles, Venice, Italy and London, England, to recreate the more specific exteriors and interiors referenced in the film.

 Lippincott kept the film’s color palette “muted and fairly tight and contemporary” to reflect the reality of the New York Times’ offices and Twohey and Kantor’s personal spaces, both of which she describes as “fairly contemporary and functional.”


 As with every aspect of She Said, authenticity and attention to detail were foremost in the filmmaker’s minds. Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor shared with costume designer Brittany Loar photographs of themselves at the office, at awards ceremonies and in more personal settings. Twohey even sent Loar a photo of what she wore on her first date with her husband, a scene that’s included in the film. “All of that helped me to shape each of their wardrobes,” Loar says. “Seeing what someone chooses to wear to the office and then what they wear on a casual weekend really helps to get a true sense of one’s personal style.”

 Director Maria Schrader and Loar agreed that the costumes shouldn’t look “movie perfect.” “So many of these women were putting a lot on the line when we were seeing them; they were often very vulnerable and stressed, and I wanted to help show that,” Loar says. “I would choose fabrics that would hopefully show sweat if the woman was sweating in her interview, or garments that would show wrinkles to help sell that Megan, Jodi and the other journalists were putting in such long hours at the office.”

 Loar would often repeat costumes, particularly for the actors playing Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor: Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan. “Jodi had two young daughters at the time, and I wanted it to feel like she wasn't so much thinking about what she was wearing, but more about what she was trying to accomplish,” Loar says. “Same with Megan. Uncovering the truth for this story really did take over their lives at the time."


For the cinematography of She Said, the filmmakers enlisted Argentine Director of Photography Natasha Braier. With She Said, Braier wanted the look of the film to remain rooted in realism while at the same time feel visually “alive and interesting, without crossing that line of calling attention to myself,” Braier says. “We wanted the audience to feel as if they were watching a piece of real life, not a piece of entertainment, to feel they are witnessing something through a window without manipulation from the filmmakers.”

The scenes in the film in which the survivors recount their experiences were among the most creatively challenging to capture. Braier and director Maria Schrader wanted their visual storytelling to reflect the emotions underpinning the actors’ performances. “There are She Said Production Information Page 23 plenty of moments in the script that go beyond the ‘journalist investigation movie’ into impressionistic or subjective moments, family life snapshots, as well as intimate, emotional connections with our characters,” Braier says. “We talked about these two worlds and how they could meet and seamlessly merge.”

 Braier cites cinematographer Gordon Willis’s work in All the President’s Men as an importance influence on the look of She Said. “[That film is composed of] mostly static shots, each shot being carefully planned and arranged, yet feeling real and non-fabricated,” Braier says. “The camera is only moving when it needs to move, motivated by an emotion or a plot development. The cinematic artifice doesn’t draw the audience’s attention. Instead, it keeps the audience engaged with a feeling of ‘pure’ connection to reality at the same time that it supports the story.”

 Braier also reviewed the documentary about the New York Times, The Fourth Estate, to get a better sense of how the Times newsroom works and how people inhabit the space.

Because the Times offices were empty during the pandemic, “we couldn’t go spend some time at the newspaper and see it ‘live,’” Braier says. “[Watching the documentary] was the only way for us to gather the data to be able to reproduce the energy inside the building in a realistic way.”

 The filmmakers did visit the newsroom several times before the shoot began to gain a proper understanding of the space and how they might stage the scenes at the offices. “The great advantage was the fact that we were able to film that immense and unique building and capture it as it is,” Braier says.
 The one downside to shooting in the Times offices was the existing fluorescent lighting in the newsroom, which cast a yellowish glow. The behind-the-scenes team replaced the lighting in the Culture section where the production recreated the Investigative Journalism department. “But when we covered offices outside the investigation area, I had to embrace the existing tubes and try to flood them with as much daylight as I could to ‘wash out’ the yellow,” Braier says. “Sometimes it was a bit of a chess game on how to blend it all.”


The poignant, gripping music of She Said is by three-time Oscar® nominee and frequent Plan B collaborator NICHOLAS BRITELL (Moonlight, If Beale Street Could Talk, Don’t Look Up). Britell’s score establishes the film’s accelerating tension and the steely commitment of New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey as they break the story that will shatter decades of silence and impel a shift in American culture that continues to this day.

Britell’s work is deftly attuned with the characters’ internal journeys as well as what’s at stake on such a large scale, helping to thread together the story’s wide range of emotions from regret, hope, fear and the collision of dreams stolen; this is accomplished through Britell’s sensitive orchestral textures and the exquisite and searingly beautiful cello solos, performed by Britell’s wife, celebrated cellist CAITLIN SULLIVAN. This is the first score that Britell and Sullivan have co-produced together.

For Britell, writing and recording the score in New York City was intrinsic to his creative process for She Said—as the story itself was so rooted in the experiences of the New York Times journalists. So, too, was his collaboration with Sullivan, not only in recording the cello sequences she performed, but also in experimenting together with specific cello sounds and effects in her position as a co-producer on the score. “For this film, it was incredibly important to me to have her creative input and her perspective on how the music should relate to these women’s stories,” Britell says.

When Britell first began preparing to score the film, he started by crafting key themes that would act as motifs for the characters of Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, which would represent both their internal and external struggles. “My hope was that the music surrounding them would support their experiences at home with their husbands and young families, as well as the mounting pressure they were under to unveil the magnitude of their yet-to-be published story,” Britell says. “These themes—and a theme for their overarching journey—incorporate a wide range of emotions from regret and hope to uncertainty and fear. All this culminates in how we see and feel the devastating damage to so many lives, and to dreams stolen from the survivors who bravely shared their stories.”

In addition to those specific themes, Britell composed music related to the investigation itself, and to the search for information. “All the while, there are featured ‘swirling’ aleatoric cello motifs, which attempt to create a feeling of memory and of the traumas these women have experienced,” Britell says, adding that the orchestra, and in particular Sullivan’s cello solos, provide the basis for much of the intense emotion heard within the score. “I find her cello performances truly haunting and beautiful,” Britell says.

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