Though both George Clooney and Matt Damon have given statements about the sexual misconduct of their former collaborator Harvey Weinstein, the road to the premiere of their new film, Suburbicon, is paved in Weinstein comments. Clooney, who’s directing the film, and Damon, who plays the lead alongside Julianne Moore and Oscar Isaac, elaborated on what they knew about Weinstein prior to the bombshell New York Times report earlier this month.
“I knew the story about Gwyneth [Paltrow] from Ben [Affleck] because he was with her after Brad [Pitt], so I knew that story. I never talked to Gwyneth about it—Ben told me,” Damon told ABC News’s Michael Strahan. Paltrow began dating Affleck in 1997. Weinstein had already purchased both Damon and Affleck’s launching pad, Good Will Hunting, which debuted that year. “But I knew that they had come to whatever agreement or understanding that they had come to—she had handled it. She was the First Lady of Miramax. And he treated her incredibly respectfully.”
So people say, ‘everybody knew,’ like, yeah I knew. I knew he was an asshole—he was proud of that. That’s how he carried himself. I knew he was a womanizer. I wouldn’t want to be married to the guy. But the criminal sexual predation is not something that I ever thought was going on. Absolutely not.
Clooney added his two cents as well. (He worked with Weinstein on 1996’s From Dusk Till Dawn, and made his directorial debut, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, with Miramax in 2002, a few years before the Weinstein brothers left to form the Weinstein Company.) “Harvey would talk to me about women that he’d had affairs with,” he said. “I didn’t necessarily believe him, quite honestly, because to believe him would be to believe kind of the worst of some actresses who were friends of mine. But the idea that this predator, this assaulter, was out there silencing women like that—it’s beyond infuriating.”
Their press tour for the film has given them ample opportunity to tag-team talking about the biggest story in Hollywood right now. At Sunday night’s Los Angeles premiere, both Clooney and Damon told Vanity Fair that the Weinstein revelation marked a watershed moment. “I really do believe there is going to be major change. There won’t be this type of behavior anymore,” said Damon. “If somebody as powerful as Harvey can be brought down by this, what we need is for it to filter all the way down to somebody who is a single mom, who’s a waitress, who’s getting harassed when she’s punching out [from her job], and she’s afraid to speak up because she’s going to lose her job and she needs her job.”