Thandie Newton has taken on another tough role in the gritty HBO sci-fi series Westworld, but she’s not new to the genre, nor is she new to Hollywood, having debuted in her first big screen film in 1991’s Flirting.
Newton has years of experience in both films and in the seedier side of the Hollywood subculture, as she revealed in a recent interview. Adding her own voice to the growing list of actors revealing incidents of sexual abuse perpetrated by the filmmaking community’s movers and shakers, Thandie recounts her own experience in becoming an objectified Hollywood victim.
Thandie Newton Recounts Suffering Sexual Abuse And Humiliation In Hollywood
At 43 years old, Ms. Newton is experienced in every facet of filmmaking, including having been the victim of sexual abuse. Thandie recalled the incident in a recent interview with W magazine, revealing that the abuse was compounded, when it was brought back into her life, years later. Newton recounts the experience with complete candidness, though the Westworld actress stops short of naming the offending director.
“A director, on a callback, had a camera shooting up my skirt and asked me to touch my t–s and think about the guy making love to me in the scene. I thought, ‘Ok, this is a little weird,’ but there was a female casting director in the room and I’d done weird stuff before so I did it,” shares Ms. Newton in the interview.
While Thandie may not have forgotten the experience, she let it pass, assuming that would be the end of it, but it wasn’t. Years later, Newton was attending a film festival with her husband, when another Hollywood mogul approached her. Thandie says he was drunk and running his mouth in a way that he might not have, had he been sober, mentioning that he had recently seen her. Curious, the actress asked where he had seen her, but he stumbled off, embarrassed by the encounter.
When Ms. Newton’s husband chased after him and requested to know how or where the man had seen his wife, the sexually explicit audition from years before had again been brought back into Thandie’s life.
“It turns out that the director was showing that audition tape to his friends after poker games at his house. And they would all get off on it,” Newton said.
Westworld Star Thandie Newton Wants Things To Change For Future Generations Of Young Actors
Much like previous celebrities, Elijah Wood and Corey Feldman to name but a couple, Thandie is speaking out, because she wants things to change for future generations of young and child actors, according to Daily Mail. She admits that, as a young aspiring actress, she was naive and unaware that some auditions might not always be on the up and up, but she hopes bringing awareness to the public will provide better transparency for the parents of young actors.
“I was so so naïve when I started out and I realize now that we have to prepare our kids— I’ve got two beautiful daughters, one is 16 one is 11. So many people in our business, they don’t want to be the ones to say something that’s a bum out because then they become associated with a bum out and nobody wants to read about so-and-so because they’re always blabbering on about a bum out,” says Newton.
Even so, Thandie says it’s important to speak up and talk about these Hollywood secrets, because it may spare someone else from being victimized.
“But one person will read this and it will stop them getting sexually abused by a director,” says Newton. “That’s the person I’m interested in.”
While becoming an advocate for other actors against sexually abusive Hollywood directors may be the right thing to do, it has been pointed out to Newton that it’s in direct contrast to her Westworld role. The HBO series, which has already been called “the next Game of Thrones” by some, casts Newton as madam Maeve Millay, a role which seems to place her in the position shared by those Hollywood directors Thandie strives so passionately to fight against.
“Exactly! If you know me at all, it’s like, ‘What the hell is that all about?'” Newton said. “But that question is precisely what got me hooked. The show is really looking at things that stick in your craw. It poses these existential questions. It’s really fascinating. It’s like being in a game of Dungeons & Dragons except set in the Wild Wild West.”
Westworld is set to premiere in October on HBO.
[Image by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz]