There was a full circle moment at the Power Women Summit today, as TheWrap CEO and co-founder Sharon Waxman welcomed “She Said” producer Dede Gardner and screenwriter Rebecca Lenkiewicz to talk about a pivotal scene from their film.
As Waxman pointed out in her introduction, the Power Women Summit was founded in the wake of the #MeToo movement, and “She Said” happens to be a powerful retelling of the New York Times’ investigation into allegations against Harvey Weinstein, reporting that would ultimately lead to the beginnings of the #MeToo movement.
Watch Anatomy of a Scene: “She Said” in the video above.
The sequence that Gardner and Lenkiewicz chose involves reporter Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan) as she travels overseas to interview Zelda Perkins (Samantha Morton), a former Weinstein colleague who spoke out against the disgraced film producer during the Times investigation.
What’s really incredible about the scene is that Waxman, while working for the New York Times, actually had a similar conversation with Perkins – but she was worried about litigation at the time. Turns out, that Waxman and Perkins conversation took place in England more than a decade before Kantor finally got Perkins on the record.
When discussing the scene, Lenkiewicz said that she was mostly faithful to the 2019 source material, “She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement.”
“We didn’t make any huge transgressions from the book, but after I wrote it, Zelda had some input too, so there was a brilliant re-edit,” Lenkiewicz. “It was a shorter scene, but it became longer. It was quite an organic, evolving scene. Just thinking about writing that scene I felt like it needed real weight and space.”
Gardner expanded on their desire to get feedback from an actual survivor: “I can’t imagine doing it any other way,” she said. “Rebecca and I knew from the beginning that we wanted to showcase [the survivors] and it was a specific choice to move away from more famous people and to use what happened to them to show the destruction wrought on very young lives full of hopes and dreams.” They approached the survivors even before the book was finished and then returned to get their stories when they had a completed screenplay.
Learn more about this stirring scene by watching the video above.
The Power Women Summit (PWS) is the largest annual gathering of the most influential women in entertainment, media and technology. The event aims to inspire and empower women across the landscape of their professional careers and personal lives. This year’s PWS provides two days of education, mentorship, workshops and networking around the globe – to promote this year’s theme, “A Time to Unite.” Learn more here: thewrap.com/pws.