What a paradoxical climate celebrities find themselves in these days. The attention gluttons who crave the spotlight are in an unfamiliar position of avoiding the journalists who normally fawn over them. What has changed for them is the cloud of sexual predatory scandals that have been sending down bolts of charges against some of the big names in their industry.
This curious changeover was on display during the world premiere ceremony for the Warner Brothers comic book epic “Justice League”. Some stars, who normally like talking about themselves and their latest product, as well as themselves, elected to avoid talking about themselves directly to the media.
The ensemble cast went through the usual PR motions, posing and smiling for cameras, glad-handing with some fans, and signing programs. But select members ducked out of the formality of the interview gamut for the affair.
Most in the press didn’t get a chance to speak with the film’s two biggest stars. Ben Affleck (Batman) and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) skipped the press line at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood (though they did speak to the official Warner Bros. live stream of the event, and celebrity-focused outlets E! News and ET landed interviews).
There was sound reasoning for these unfamiliar decisions to avoid self-aggrandizement, but for polar opposite reasons. Affleck was eliding any possible mention of his own dark revelations weeks back. He has worked closely with the largest (in multiple ways) industry scourge, Harvey Weinstein. Bat-fleck also had to address allegations of past indiscretions, for which he issued apologies. Mention of these episodes would taint the affair.
Gal Gadot had altogether different reasons for ducking the microphones. She reportedly came forward with a rather stern announcement that she is willing to walk away from the sequel to the global smash “Wonder Woman”. This was due to one of the big industry names to recently be outed as a predator, director/producer Brett Ratner. At least half a dozen actresses have come forward with tales of his behavior. Ratner’s company was a partner in the “Wonder Woman” production.
Stories recently broke that Gadot said she’d walk from the role if Ratner remained a production partner. While wishing to stem talk of this from distracting away from “JL” a reporter from ET managed to get her on the record. The compliant entertainment outlet had her clarifying the fact that the studio, Warner Brothers, already effectively cut ties with Ratner.
Essentially it comes down to the agreement between Warners and Ratner will expire before the spring, ahead of the shooting schedule of “Wonder Woman 2” (Set for a release in late 2019.). Thus while Gadot has been more than vocal about Ratner, and the sexual predations of Hollywood in general, she escapes being responsible for chasing him off the film.
One other figure was completely missing from the event, and probably wisely so. The film’s principal photography was done by director Zach Snyder. However Snyder’s daughter passed away this summer, leading to his departure from the project. That led to Joss Whedon stepping in to oversee the post-production, and direct additional scenes.
Whedon endured his own bout of sexual scandal when his wife recently came forward to reveal that the loudly avowed male feminist had a lengthy career of womanizing throughout Hollywood. His may become a story worth revisiting, considering the years he has been a driving force in the industry. That his story came out a little over a month prior to Weinstein’s depravity being exposed means, at least for now, his story is one of “merely” philandering. Keeping a low profile while lights are being shined on this behavior is the safest thing for him these days.