Michael Mitnick, the screenwriter for “The Current War,” has dropped out of a panel that will be held on Thursday night as part of the New York Film Festival, Variety has learned. The abrupt cancellation is yet another sign of how the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal is consuming Hollywood, and casting a shadow in the lead up to awards season.
The talk, moderated by journalist and author Thelma Adams, is called “Real to Reel: Dramatizing True Stories.” Mitnick had agreed to appear onstage to talk about his biopic of Thomas Edison alongside Emily Gordon (“The Big Sick”) and Michael Koskoff (“Marshall”), who are both still scheduled to participate.
“We were notified by our partners the Writers Guild of America East today that Mr. Mitnick would no longer be able to attend tonight’s talk,” said a spokesperson from the Film Society of Lincoln Center, which hosts the festival.
Sources say Mitnick decided that it wouldn’t be appropriate to promote “The Current War,” which has distribution from The Weinstein Company.
After a series of bombshell reports in the New Yorker and New York Times detailing decades of alleged abuse and sexual harassment by Weinstein, the mogul was fired from his own company on Sunday.
New leadership was announced, but the future of the Weinstein Co. remains unclear. Many of the projects that were completed now have a cloud hanging over them. As a result, sources say “The Current War,” which has a release date of Nov. 24, might be postponed until next year.
The film, starring Benedict Cumberbatch (as Edison), screened at the Toronto Film Festival in September to lukewarm reviews. For a prestige picture like that to turn a profit, it would need to pick up Oscar nominations that could help build word-of-mouth.
On Saturday, the Academy’s Board of Governors will hold an emergency meeting to discuss Weinstein’s allegations.
More than 30 women have come forward in the last week, to share their stories of being harassed or assaulted by Weinstein over the years, including the actresses Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Mira Sorvino, Heather Graham, and Cara Delevingne.