The Oscar winner for “Amy” and director of the documentaries “Senna” and “Diego Maradona” is one of the many who suffered from the disgraced producer.
On Monday, the Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Asif Kapadia told a room full of attendees at a conference in the Copenhagen International Documentary Festival that I would never have directed a non-fiction film if it hadn’t been for Harvey Weinstein “killed” his first narrative feature film, “The Warrior”.
“The Warrior”starring the deceased Irrfan Khan (“Slumdog Millionaire”, “Life of Pi”), is about a mercenary led by an evil warlord to wreak havoc on a rural village in Rajasthan by forcing the poor inhabitants to pay taxes. In 2003, the film won two BAFTA Awards for Outstanding Debut and Outstanding British Film. But according to Kapadia, the film did not attract attention outside of England due to Weinstein, who bought the rights worldwide, excluding the UK, in 2001.
“I was flown to New York to meet Weinstein, and everyone was saying how great it was that the movie had been sold to Miramax,” Kapadia said. “I remember saying why I didn’t feel good about (the deal).”
At the meeting, Kapadia described a room full of initially friendly executives who quickly fell silent and couldn’t meet the director’s eyes after Weinstein entered the conference room.
“Weinstein pushed this stack of scripts at me and said, ‘Choose a movie (because) your next movie has to be with me, or I won’t release ‘The Warrior.'”. And not only that, she says: ‘Your next three movies have to be with me’”.
Not wanting to be tied down to a contract, Kapadia turned down the offer and Weinstein “killed the movie.”.
“Even now, ‘The Warrior’ can’t be shown all over the world,” the director told moderator Thom Powers. “Even Irrfan Khan tried to show that film. Now no one even knows who owns it. I can look back on the experience now and say, ‘That was a great break for (my drama career), and it died before I even started on my first film.’ So, I had to find another way.”
Kapadia’s alternate route was documentary filmmaking. “I had a little more control (in a documentary),” she explained. “I was running it and I was in charge of editing. Also, the less money you have, the more power you will have.”
The career change paid off. Kapadia went on to make a long list of acclaimed documentaries, including “Senna”, “Amy” and “Diego Maradona”.
I am an author and journalist who has worked in the entertainment industry for over a decade. I currently work as a news editor at a major news website, and my focus is on covering the latest trends in entertainment. I also write occasional pieces for other outlets, and have authored two books about the entertainment industry.