WEINSTEIN TIP OF THE ICEBERG
Written by: Colin Bruce Munro Wood - 10:000 PM EST - 10/14/2017
The topic of Harvey Weinstein is a touchy one for anyone to talk about, especially an actor who is still working on moving his film career up the ladder, such as myself. So, in writing this article I take a big chance of upsetting some people in Hollywood that might see this, and probably will, as I've had decently known actors and directors comment to me about my writing, and how they appreciate it. I imagine, they will be the same ones to appreciate this article, but some may not.
I spent 15 years in New York City, Los Angeles, and Seattle to name a few well known cities for entertainment, and although I usually worked on a project of some nature, I ended up spending more of my time being called in for big opportunities on stage, in television and film.
Much like the women who have dealt privately with the Harvey Weinstein's of the business, I, as I am sure, many other actors and actresses of smaller caliber have also been introduced to the casting couch mode of bettering my career.
I am proud of the women stepping up now, releasing the secrets they've felt pressured to keep under wraps so to protect their careers. Some have been kind enough to mention that this isn't just a problem for women in the business either.
In my experiences in NYC mainly, trying to make it to Broadway, I incurred many callbacks for big roles in the Entertainment Industry. The role of Chris in "Miss Saigon" was one of them, for which I received 7 callbacks over the period of 7 years. I spent a few hours with the musical director and producers of "Meet Me in St. Louis" before it went to Broadway, having dinner, talking and singing at the piano the role of John. I was realistically under the impression by the time we were done that they loved me and I had the part. I was called in for Marius for the Broadway Les Miserables a few times, and seen for other major roles in Broadway shows over and over again by the same casting directors, whom it doesn't matter to mention at this time, as they have both retired and passed away. So, out of respect, I won't mention their names. But, they were the biggest stalwarts in Broadway Musical casting in the late 80's through the 90's. I was called in for roles in numerous television pilots for new shows.
I did eventually do some work on As The World Turns, Law & Order, and an MTV Video for a popular band in the mid-90's.
The situation with Harvey Weinstein and the women coming out, I hope to be the tip of the iceberg in changing Hollywood and some of it's casting ways. Ashley Judd is one of these power houses to be speaking out, and even she is usually pretty outspoken about things, so that shows how secret this problem has been for a long time.
It goes to say, however, that not all of Hollywood works this way, and that there are hundreds of directors and producers that are respectable and respect their talent. I am currently working with such a gentleman in the Binghamton, NY area a potential Netflix comedy now. He respects his talent, and doesn't use his position as a power position over his cast and crew.
So, returning to my NYC days. In one of the situations above I dealt with the Producer of "Meet Me In St. Louis" calling me the next day and asking me out to dinner. It didn't come across as a business opportunity, but more of a date after conversing with him personally on his private phone number. After I told him I was not gay, and was only interested in a business dinner, he said he'd get back to me, and I never heard from "Meet Me In St. Louis" again. The show ended up not lasting long on Broadway anyway, but it might have been the start of something big for me, had I decided to take the casting couch route in. As far as the casting company that called me in over and over again, I could never figure out what their issue was with not actually giving me a job. But, I always felt it was because I didn't cross to their side of the fence.
I truly am hoping the tides of casting in entertainment are changing, and that more women and men come out with their stories of harassment, and sexual advances. I have other stories of actual advances I can bring up, including an offer from Kevin Spacey to go home with he and Lori Petty one night in 1996 at the "Apollo 13" opening party at Kate Mantilini's, but my stories won't be as effective as those of higher stature in the business.
I don't see how it is any surprise to anyone that this is coming out of Hollywood now. It's no big surprise to anyone that some of Hollywood has always been a casting couch. I guess what is surprising everyone today is the level of power that Harvey Wienstein leveled against these actresses whom he insulted, and depraved of their rights.
Like many other things that are gaining more awareness around America, I hope that this situation gains steam, so to finally push the ugly problem out of Hollywood and entertainment all together!
I stand with these women and their bravery to come out, despite whether it was years ago, or not. They have now been given the power back to speak up, and speak up they must. I imagine it is only the tip of the iceberg with Harvey, and that other names will fall, but then again, maybe that age of Hollywood is dying out anyway, if this has become a front new topic finally.
All power to the women and men of entertainment who have and do deal with this monster on a daily basis!
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