In an alternate dimension, there’s a version of Charlie’s Angels, the 2000 action movie based on the 1970s TV series, starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore….and Thandie Newton.
But in this universe, Charlie’s Angles was “one of the biggest movies” the Westworld star came really close to making. Her part eventually went to Lucy Liu, who reprised the role in the 2003 sequel Charlie Angels: Full Throttle.
In a brutally honest, bean-spilling interview with Vulture, Newton, 47, said she is “massively affected” by racism, abuse and objectification in her 30-plus year career. So whenever she encounters “people that were doing the same [abusive] s***”, she “would challenge them or want to get out of it, or not want to work with people.”
That was why she walked away from Charlie’s Angels because she wasn’t too thrilled with a highly sexualised pitch by helmer McG (real name Joseph McGinty Nichol).
“The director said to me, ‘I can’t wait for this. The first shot is going to be … You’re going to think it’s like yellow lines down a road, and you pull back and you realise it’s the stitching, because the denim is so tight on your ass it’s going to look like tarmac.’” Newton recalled. “I was like, 'Oh, I don’t think we’re going to go down this road together.'"
But the straw that broke the camel's back was Newton's meeting with then Sony Pictures Entertainment boss Amy Pascal who made some dubious suggestions on how to make Newton's college-educated character in Charlie’s Angels “believable”
“She said, ‘Look, I don’t mean to be politically incorrect, but the character as written and you playing the role, I just feel like we’ve got to make sure that it’s believable,’” Newton said. “I was like, ‘What do you mean? What changes would you have to make?’
“She’s like, ‘Well, you know, the character, as written, she’s been to university and is educated.” I’m like, ‘I’ve been to university. I went to Cambridge.’ She went, ‘Yeah, but you’re different.’ She’s like, ‘Maybe there could be a scene where you’re in a bar and she gets up on a table and start shaking her booty.’
“She’s basically reeling off these stereotypes of how to be more convincing as a Black character. Everything she said, ‘I was like, ‘Nah, I wouldn’t do that.’ She’s like, Yeah, but you’re different. You’re different.’”.
And that was the end of that.
When Vulture reached out to Pascal for comment, the producer — who was fired by Sony in 2015 following the e-mail hacking scandal — said she was “horrified” by Newton’s side of that meeting.
“While I take her words seriously, I have no recollections of the events she describes, nor do any of her representatives who were present at that casting session,” Pascal said. “I’ve long considered Thandie a friend; I’m thankful that I’ve had the chance to make movies with her; and I hope to work with her again in the future.”
Elsewhere, Newton claimed that she has more such sordid (read casting couch) tales in her “little black book, which will be published on my deathbed.”
“Got to leave something behind, love,” she continued. “I’m not doing it when I’m alive. I don’t want to deal with all the fallout and everyone getting their side of the story. There is no side of the story when you’re sexually abused. You give that up.”
Photos: TPG News/Click Photos; IMDB