Michael Shannon Responds to ‘The Current War’ Delay and Weinstein Allegations
The Weinstein Company had one big awards contender this year, the Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse historical drama The Current War. The Alfonso Gomez-Rejon-directed film, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September, stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon as Industrial Revolution rivals Edison and Westinghouse, respectively. But despite its obvious awards potential, the electricity drama won’t make it to the Oscars next year.
After a wave of sexual assault allegations hit former studio head Harvey Weinstein last month, the company quickly severed ties with its co-founder and pulled The Current War from their fall slate. The film was set to open this week on November 24, but postponed for an undecided 2018 release, it won’t have a shot in this year’s awards race and it’s unknown when the shelved movie will ever see the light of day. Michael Shannon described the whole situation as “unfortunate.”
Over the weekend, we caught up with the actor to discuss his role in Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy romance The Shape of Water (stay tuned for our full interview next week). During a phone interview, we asked Shannon about the delayed historical drama, his perspective on the numerous allegations coming out of Hollywood — “It’s a big mess,” he said — and how it has impacted various projects. Shannon told us:
Well you know that’s unfortunate with The Current War because I think it’s a very relevant story. It’s a timely story. That’s why I did it in the first place, because I thought it’d be a good time for people to see that story. I don’t think a lot of people even know that story, and it’s very important in our nation’s history and as it relates to how the modern corporations seemed to have gotten out of hand. It’s nice to see someone like [George] Westinghouse, who was able to make a lot of money and have a substantial empire without completely screwing a bunch of people over at the time. So anyway, that’s sad. I mean, I understand it. I understand the reason that it’s been delayed. And I obviously I don’t approve of what Harvey did. I think it’s a little unfair to Alfonso the director just because he’s been working so hard. I just hope that the film gets out there.
Shannon went on to point out that his Shape of Water character exhibits similar behavior to that of Weinstein and many accused men. He mentioned one scene in particular where his character Strickland, a violent government agent, calls Sally Hawkins’ mute janitor Elisa into his office and sexually harasses her with lewd comments:
I think you see in The Shape of Water, with the character Strickland. I think that’s also conspicuous timing. You’re seeing a fictional representation in Strickland of a lot of this behavior that’s come under scrutiny. Particularly if you notice the scene with Elisa, it’s very spooky to have that scene from the movie where I call to her my office and put her in an awkward situation.
The Shape of Water and Current War actor was also previously involved in David O. Russell’s since canceled TV series, a Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore crime drama Amazon scrapped over its ties with The Weinstein Company. However, one of Shannon’s upcoming Weinstein projects, Waco, remains unaffected, so far. Shannon stars in the six-part limited series about the 1993 Waco siege of David Koresh’s (played by Taylor Kitsch) Branch Davidians cult compound. The series was developed by Weinstein TV’s production company, and is a major part of the rebranding of the new Paramount Network, a remodel of Spike TV. Harvey Weinstein was said to be a major creative force behind the series, and while the latest trailer removed Weinstein TV’s logo, Waco is still set to debut on January 24, 2018.
The Shape of Water hits theaters December 1.
Gallery – 9 Films That May Be Affected By The Weinstein Company Scandal: