After Aurora, even Harvey Weinstein admits Hollywood may be too violent

 

He made his name championing Quentin Tarantino and built his empire on some of the most blood-spattered films in history. But in the wake of the Aurora shootings, even Harvey Weinstein reckons that Hollywood should tone down the violence.

The famously combative film producer has called for a "summit" to discuss how viewers are influenced by graphic movies. He has told an interviewer that his industry must not "shirk responsibility" for last week's late-night massacre in a Colorado cinema during the screening of the new Batman film, which left at least a dozen dead and more than 50 wounded.

"As film-makers we should sit down – the Marty Scorseses, the Quentin Tarantinos and hopefully all of us who deal in violence in movies – and discuss our role in that," he told a reporter for the Huffington Post.

"It's a question that I wrestle with all the time. I've been involved with violent movies, and then I've also said at a certain point, 'I can't take it any more. Please cut it.' You know, you've got to respect the film-maker, and it's a really tough issue. My heart goes out to those kids and those families."

However, Mr Weinstein, a prominent supporter of Barack Obama, who is organising a fundraiser for the President next month, added that Hollywood cannot act alone. The prime cause of violent deaths in America was the lack of gun control, he argued: it was time for politicians to "put up or shut up" on the main issue.

"If we don't get gun control laws in this country, we are full of beans. To have the National Rifle Association rule the United States is pathetic... It's time to put up or shut up about gun control for both parties. Mitt Romney had better outline where he stands, and people know that I'm a firm supporter of the president and I believe he's got to do the same."

The producer, who was speaking during an interview to promote the US release of The Untouchables, has previously worked with Michael Moore, the documentarian whose Bowling for Columbine explored a notorious 1999 high-school massacre believed to have been partly inspired by the film Natural Born Killers.

His comments met with understandable talk of pots and kettles. Famed as Hollywood's pre-eminent producer of independent movies – he masterminded the recent Oscar campaign for The Artist – Mr Weinstein is also the owner of a legendarily combustible temper.

Biographer Peter Biskind once accused the producer of manhandling New York Observer editor Andrew Goldman during a confrontation at a cocktail party.

During that incident, which occurred in 2000 and has since entered Hollywood lore, Biskind alleged that Mr Weinstein put Mr Goldman "in a headlock and dragged him out the doors on to the street," saying they were eventually separated by frantic publicists.

Mr Weinstein has since disputed Mr Biskind's version of events. But reputations are hard to shift, and even Meryl Streep has called him "the Punisher".

With this in mind, the influential film industry blog Deadline wondered yesterday if Mr Weinstein's summit on violence ought to "take place at the corner of Hubris Street and Hypocrisy Boulevard, in the city of Sanctimony, right near the Self-Righteous Cineplex."

Past gories: Harvey's bloody hits

Tie me up! Tie me down!

This early Pedro Almodovar film released by Miramax in 1989 tells of a psychiatric patient who kidnaps a porn star to make her fall in love with him. His overtures begin with a head butt, continue with street brawls and end with a graphic sex scene.

Reservoir Dogs

Weinstein, while with Miramax, acted a distributor to this 1992 story of a botched diamond heist in collaboration with a little-known scriptwriter called Quentin Tarantino. The film's signature scene has Michael Madsen, as the psychopathic 'Mr Blonde', torture a captive police officer for fun.

Pulp Fiction

Tarantino's second feature, with Weinstein as an executive producer, won prizes for its mix of pop culture references and cinematic allusions. It also included trademark gore, as when John Travolta's character accidentally splatters a man's brains over the inside of a car.

Scream

The tongue-in-cheek slasher movie that gave horror films a new lease of life was bought by the Weinstein brothers as filming was ending. It grossed £110m and was acclaimed for satirising horror movie conventions—by steeping them in even more blood than usual.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering