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Why Sarah Polley sees Harvey Weinstein as just one part of Hollywood’s problem

By in Press Enterprise on November 1, 2017

By Rob Lowman

Several years ago, I interviewed a young actress coming off her first success who had been dolled up for the press day.

As the interview progressed, she looked more and more uncomfortable, shifting fitfully around in a fluffy dress. When I mentioned she looked miserable, the actress let her frustrations out.

“I don’t understand why I have to wear this,” she complained.

That exchange didn’t become part of my article, but I recently recounted the story to filmmaker and actress Sarah Polley, who understood.

“For me, the breaking point as an actress was just because one acts in movies doesn’t mean I want to be selling skimpy clothes on the covers of magazines,” says Polley. “It doesn’t have anything to do with what I do or why I do it. There is no correlation in my mind between the two things, but when you are an actress that is expected of you as your job. I was achingly uncomfortable with it.”

Sarah Polley and Margaret Atwood on the set of “Alias Grace.”

The filmmaker began her career at 6 and was a child star on the Disney Channel, and she went on to make films as an adult. In the last decade, though, she has turned her attention to directing and writing. Her most recent work is an adaption of the Margaret Atwood novel “Alias Grace” arriving on Netflix Friday.

A couple of weeks ago, Polley wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times about her experience at age 19 with Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood mogul who is the subject of numerous sexual assault allegations. As she tells it in the piece, he suggested a “very close relationship” could benefit her career, but, Polley wrote, “I was purely lucky that I didn’t care,”

The problems in Hollywood are not simply casting couches, Polley notes.

“I would […]    

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