Asia Argento, the Italian actress and director who was one of the first women to accuse Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, which ultimately led her to become one of the most vocal figures in the #MeToo movement, is now facing sexual misconduct allegations of her own.
In a bombshell report published by The New York Times on Sunday evening, it was revealed that Argento arranged to pay $380,000 to Jimmy Bennett, a former child actor who accused the actress, who was 37 at the time, of sexually assaulting him in a California hotel room when he was only 17-years-old. The age of consent in California is 18.
Bennett’s accusations and the arrangement for the $380,000 payment are laid out in legal documents between lawyers for the two parties. The Times says it obtained the documents, as well as a 2013 photograph of Argento and Bennett lying in bed, through encrypted email via an anonymous sender.
A Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department spokesperson told Variety on Monday that Argento is not under investigation at the moment, but authorities will be reaching out to Bennett this week to discuss the alleged sexual abuse.
“There’s no investigation at this point,” said Deputy Kimberly Alexander. “They’re going to exhaust all avenues since the information has come to light, but it’s not under investigation at this time.”
At the Cannes Film Festival in May, Argento delivered a fiery speech in which she called out predators working in the Hollywood and warned that they were not going to be allowed to get away with sexual misconduct any longer.
“Sitting among you there are those who still have to be held accountable for their conduct against women,” Argento told festival attendees. “For behavior that does not belong in this industry ― does not belong in any industry or workplace. You know who you are. But most importantly, we know who you are, and we’re not going to allow you to get away with it any longer.”
Warner Bros.’ live-action ‘Barbie’ movie taps Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach as writers
As Greta Gerwig prepares to debut her sophomore effort Little Women on the fall festival circuit in the coming months, the Oscar-nominee has been tapped to co-write and possibly direct Warner Bros.’ live-action Barbie movie.
Gerwig will pen the script for Barbie along with Noah Baumbach, while Gerwig is also likely to helm the high-profile project, though negotiations are still underway and no deals have been finalized as of yet.
Margot Robbie, who is on board to star as the iconic Mattel toy, will also serve as a producer on the film along with Tom Ackerly for LuckyChap Entertainment and Robbie Brenner of Mattel Films. Josey McNamara and Ynon Kreiz are also producing.
Gerwig is currently in post-production on her star-studded Little Women adaptation for Columbia. The film, which is expected to be a strong contender in the forthcoming awards season race, stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern, and Meryl Streep.
Baumbach, who last directed The Meyerowitz Stories, is also in post-production on his untitled dramedy for Netflix starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as a couple who are getting divorced. The cast also includes Dern, Merritt Wever, Ray Liotta, Alan Alda, and Azhy Robertson.
Damien Chazelle shops new project ‘Babylon’ to studios as Emma Stone circles lead role
Damien Chazelle, the Oscar-winning writer-director of the 2016 musical La La Land, has begun shopping around the script for his next project titled Babylon, which is yet another story set in Los Angeles that will this time focus on the film industry in the 1920s.
While multiple studios have shown interest in the project — including Paramount and Netflix — Chazelle is most likely to bring Babylon to Lionsgate, the same studio that distributed La La Land and ran its extensive awards season campaign that earned the film a whopping 14 Oscar nominations.
Although specific plot details are being kept tightly under wraps for the time being, the film is said to be a drama set during the Roaring Twenties that examines Hollywood’s transition from silent films to talkies and will feature characters both fictional and not.
Emma Stone, who an Oscar for performance opposite Ryan Gosling in La La Land, is circling the lead role in the film — which is rumored to be iconic Hollywood “It” girl Clara Bow — though talks are still preliminary and any type of formal negotiations have yet to get underway.
Despite the attention that Babylon has caught, though, studios are hesitant to move on the project given its rather lengthy 180-page-long script and estimated $80 million to $100 million production budget, which some execs feel might be too big of a risky investment for their studios.
Chazelle, who last directed the Neil Armstrong biopic First Man starring Gosling, is currently working on two other projects in addition to Babylon, including the musical drama series The Eddy for Netflix and an untitled drama series for Apple’s forthcoming service service.
Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic casts rising star Austin Butler as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll
After testing a number of high-profile actors last month — including Ansel Elgort, Harry Styles, Miles Teller, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson — Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic has found its King of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Austin Butler, Warner Bros. announced Monday.
The film, which will begin shooting early next year, was written by Luhrmann along with Craig Pearce and explores the life and music of Presley through the lens of his complicated relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, who is set to be played by Tom Hanks.
“I knew I couldn’t make this film if the casting wasn’t absolutely right, and we searched thoroughly for an actor with the ability to evoke the singular natural movement and vocal qualities of this peerless star, but also the inner vulnerability of the artist. Throughout the casting process, it was an honor for me to encounter such a vast array of talent,” Luhrmann said in a statement.
He added, “I had heard about Austin Butler from his stand-out role opposite Denzel Washington in The Iceman Cometh on Broadway, and through a journey of extensive screen testing and music and performance workshops, I knew unequivocally that I had found someone who could embody the spirit of one of the world’s most iconic musical figures.”
Butler was recently on screen alongside Bill Murray and Adam Driver in Jim Jarmusch’s zombie comedy The Dead Don’t Die and can be seen next opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie in Quentin Tarantino’s thriller Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which is due out later this month.