French actress Juliette Binoche says she was never a victim of Harvey Weinstein because she had ‘learned early to be responsible’ as she revealed she was assaulted by another producer when she was 18.
The Le Chocolat star said that she was always cautious around Weinstein as she ‘knew very well what beast there was in him.’
‘When I worked with Harvey Weinstein, I felt that I knew who I had in front of me’, she told Le Monde in an interview in French.
‘The kind of guy I will never go to have fun with,’ she added. ‘I had lunch with him once in one-on-one in his suite, I did not feel any danger, but I did not understand why he wanted to see me,’ she said.
She added that she didn’t feel in danger because she knew how to deal with someone like that.
‘I was already armed,’ she explained. ‘The only time I heard a verbal sexual insinuation from him I did not take seriously, I responded immediately with a backhand ball out of bounds.’
Binoche said she’d been shocked by the accusations of rape against Weinstein but ‘there may be actresses who are more easily influenced and less prepared for situations with people of power, especially when you start’.
‘In the face of Harvey’s corpulence, in the face of his energy, his voice, his speed, in the face of the words he uses, his beliefs, in approaching such a power, one must know where one puts one’s feet and awaken his intelligence not to be trapped,’ she said, adding that being an actress was a dangerous profession.
She added that she’d never been manipulated by Weinstein because ‘I learned early to be responsible’.
Binoche revealed she had been ‘sexually touched’ from the age of seven, and had been sexually assaulted by a movie director aged 18 and a producer a few years later.
She said: ‘I think I soon had a sense of danger in the circumstances that I was able to meet from childhood or when I started as an actress.
At 18, a director, to tell me about a new project, invited me to dinner. At the end of the meal, he jumped on me to kiss me. I pushed him away immediately, saying, ‘But I’m in love, I have a lover!
‘Another time at 21, I was invited to a producer one hour before a dinner organized for the end of a shoot, he jumped on me savagely, I had to push him likewise. Instinctively, I wanted to be respected in my feelings and in my body.’
Those ‘lessons’ had stayed with her, both for her career and when she worked with Weinstein on films like The English Patient, which earned her the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and Le Chocolat in 2001 which won her a nomination for the Oscar Best actress.
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