Robert Rodriguez Says He Cast Rose McGowan in Grindhouse to Spite Harvey Weinstein

By
Photo: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Louis XIII

Robert Rodriguez knew about the incident at 1997’s Sundance Film Festival between Harvey Weinstein and Rose McGowan, where the then-Miramax boss allegedly raped the actress. McGowan told him about it years later when they met, Rodriguez said to Variety, and he cast her in Grindhouse to get back at Weinstein. After meeting at an amfAR party in Cannes in 2005, McGowan told Rodriguez that Weinstein assaulted her, and she settled with him and signed an NDA. “To add insult to injury, she told me that she was blacklisted from even auditioning for any Weinstein movies,” Rodriguez recalled in a statement. Because Rodriguez worked with Bob Weinstein’s Dimension Films, he wasn’t under Harvey’s control: “Incensed at what I heard, I told Rose that she was not blacklisted from MY movies and that Harvey couldn’t tell me who to cast.”

Rodriguez cast McGowan, whom he dated from 2006 to 2009, as Grindhouse’s action heroine. “We knew that strategically we couldn’t rub it in [Weinstein’s] face why we were REALLY doing this movie, because then he’d just bury the movie, not sell it well, and everyone would lose,” Rodriguez said. “To our horror, Harvey buried our movie anyway, and because we did not want to risk getting sued, we never spoke publicly about the matter.” (However, last October, McGowan cryptically tweeted, “My ex sold our movie to my rapist for distribution.”) Looking back, Rodriguez describes Grindhouse as a “lose-lose,” and he’s not sure that he’d make the same decision again: “We all suffered greatly on the film, and the journey ended up costing us all more than we ever bargained for. For me personally, it cost me my marriage of 16 years, my family, a large dose of sanity,” he said, “and for years I have grappled with the sobering idea that maybe I made a grave error in standing up at all, when no one was even asking me to.”

Robert Rodriguez Cast Rose McGowan to Spite Harvey Weinstein