Movies · TV

#MeToo and Time’s Up Inspire New Movie and TV Projects

There’s a new crime thriller tackling sexual harassment in Hollywood and a docuseries from Jennifer Lawrence in the works, and the timing couldn’t be better.
By  · Published on February 26th, 2018

There’s a new crime thriller tackling sexual harassment in Hollywood and a docuseries from Jennifer Lawrence in the works, and the timing couldn’t be better.

Movies, whether they’re fiction or documentary, thrive on timeliness. Translating current events, trends, and politics into films ensures that there is an outlet for these social and moral issues to be processed for the everyman in an educational or enlightening way.

However, the quest for timeliness also means turning the spotlight onto injustices that the entertainment industry itself perpetuates. As Hollywood continues to figure out how to deal with the revelations of the #MeToo era and the Time’s Up movement (for example, on the contractual side of things), a couple of projects have been lined up over the past few days. They tackle workplace harassment head-on and could be vital touchstones in the era that works to end the vicious cycle of abuses of power in the industry.

Deadline reports that Amazon has acquired the rights to Alafair Burke’s crime novel “The Wife.” The book follows Angela, a woman who suspects that her celebrity husband could be a sexual predator after an intern accuses him of harassment. A second victim then comes forward, which not only causes Angela distress over the man she believed her husband to be but the intense scrutiny on her home life also threatens to unravel tightly bound secrets that she has about her own past.

Although clearly a fictional novel built on twists, turns, and suspense, the conversation surrounding sexual predators and the culture of harassment has been a familiar topic in Hollywood for several months. This is undoubtedly the biggest hook that The Wife has at the moment, as nothing much else is currently known about the film. The novel has been well-received — Burke is a bestselling author, and “The Wife” is her 13th book — which at least bodes very well for the adaptation. Potential Gone Girl comparisons aside, The Wife may actually keep its head above the water in a sea of the many crime thrillers that get made in Hollywood because it has such a well-timed message.

On the documentary front, The Hollywood Reporter has learned of a collaboration between Jennifer Lawrence and former E! News anchor Catt Sadler. The duo will allegedly team up for a new docuseries specifically about #MeToo, the Time’s Up movement, and the gender wage gap debate. Documentary director Stephanie Soechtig (Fed Up, Under the Gun) is reportedly going to helm the series.

“I wasn’t supposed to announce that, but I am,” said Lawrence after accidentally revealing that she and Sadler would be teaming up while promoting her latest film, Red Sparrow on Friday.

Should the series become a reality, it will be vastly different from anything that either Lawrence or Sadler has worked on in the past. Lawrence still has a sustainable career in blockbusters and works on a smattering of smaller, more polarizing fare like mother! in between. Sadler is known for pop culture news. But as she told THR in January: “I feel like I have an obligation to do work and represent the many voices who don’t have an audience. Between #MeToo, Time’s Up, and the general climate right now, I would prefer to use my voice in a way that could create content that has never been made before.”

The documentary focus lends a level of intrigue to the project as a high-profile opportunity for more in-depth discussions about the problems women face in the workplace to be held. Lawrence accidentally spilling the beans about her collaboration with Sadler could have been just another one of her clumsy moments, but at least this time it’s about something we can actually be tentatively excited about. The way #MeToo gained traction and led to the Time’s Up movement is a phenomenon. It is a story that demands to be told as soon as possible despite the fact that it doesn’t culminate so much and keep building. There’s a legitimate thrill in a docuseries like this being made with such a famous actress on board supporting it.

Ideally, these projects can hopefully transcend the boundaries of the present and become timeless, because the issue of workplace harassment is obviously not new at all. People have just been paying a bit more attention more recently. Both The Wife and Lawrence and Sadler’s partnership are vital additions to changing conversations about treating women appropriately at work. Alongside the increasing number of stories about women that are being made, these projects have the potential to make sure these injustices are never swept under the rug again.

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Sheryl Oh often finds herself fascinated (and let's be real, a little obsessed) with actors and their onscreen accomplishments, developing Film School Rejects' Filmographies column as a passion project. She's not very good at Twitter but find her at @sherhorowitz anyway. (She/Her)