Thandie Newton has been drawn throughout her career to tough roles that explore race relations and violence against women, a determination she recently revealed may stem from an incident that occurred early in her career.
In a new interview with W magazine, Newton shared a story of a filmmaker who she says sexually harassed her during an audition.
“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,” she said. “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.”
Newton did not name the director or hint and what film she was working on at the time. That wasn’t the end of the abuse, however. The Crash actress, 43, recalled how years later, at a film festival, a producer drunkenly approached her and said he’d seen her recently.
“And he lurched away looking really shocked that he’d said that,” Newton said.
She said her husband asked the producer to explain his comments and found 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,” the English actress said.
Newton revealed that, though harrowing, the incident taught her several valuable lessons.
“I was so, so naive 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,” she said.
Newton added: “But one person will read this and it will stop them getting sexually abused by a director. That’s the person I’m interested in.”