Taylor Sheridan Got the Weinstein Company Scrubbed From Wind River With an Ultimatum

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Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

The movie Wind River is about the rape and murder of a Native American girl on tribal lands, and is meant to provoke conversation about the exploitation experienced by indigenous women. Wind River was also bought by the Weinstein Company at Cannes, which resulted in a clear conflict of interest when decades worth of sexual-assault allegations started pouring out against TWC’s co-founder Harvey Weinstein. News broke two weeks ago that the production had severed all ties with Weinstein Company, which meant even deleting all mentions of the company’s name in home video and streaming releases. In a new interview with Deadline, Wind River writer and director Taylor Sheridan explained how the deal to excise TWC got made. “I called TWC president David Glasser and said, ‘I’m going to demand something of you and you are going to get absolutely nothing in return,’” explained the filmmaker, “‘And you’re going to do it, because it’s the right thing to do.’ To David’s credits, he agreed.” In addition to removing all mention of the Weinstein Company, Sheridan also demanded money from the film be rerouted to charity, “The profits he would have made are going to benefit people that endured exactly the abuse that he doled out.”

As far as what would have happened if Glasser had not complied, it sounds like Sheridan was ready to nuke his own movie before letting it live on with Weinstein branding. “I said, if my movie’s going to die, I’ll be the one to kill it,” Sheridan told Deadline. “I will Alan Smithee the film, take my name off it, and publicly denounce it. I would have said, don’t go see this movie, don’t rent it, don’t watch it. If he was going to remain publicly attached, if he was going to benefit from a film highlighting the atrocity he perpetrated? No.” When the Weinstein news started to break, Sheridan says he called his principal cast — Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Basil Iwanyk, and Matthew George — so everyone could get on the same page about how to confront the issue, and Renner talked in the interview about needing to clean up all forms of abuse in the entertainment industry. But of the Weinstein matter specifically he said, “We have the film back, and so [Weinstein] can go and kiss my ass.”

How Taylor Sheridan Scrubbed Weinstein Co. From Wind River