Anna Faris is naming names when it comes to sexual harassment. She was speaking to Lena Dunham on the most recent episode of her podcast, Anna Faris Is Unqualified. This was a big-time director who just passed away — so she tested the waters first.
Director Ivan Reitman Yelled at Anna Faris, Slapped Her Ass
“Can I speak ill of the dead?” Faris asked. The two were volleying opinions about what their ideal directors and actors do and don’t do.
After getting the go-ahead, Faris divulged, “Well, one of my hardest film experiences was with Ivan Reitman.” They were filming My Super Ex-Girlfriend.
“I mean the idea of attempting to make a comedy under this Reign of Terror. I mean, he was a yeller,” continued Faris. “He would bring down somebody every day. And my very first day, it was me.”
Faris continued to explain how she was walking onto a movie set and was late on her first day filming. She was late because someone in the hair and makeup department had just spilled a quart of wig glue all over her costume. She was supposed to film a fight scene with Uma Thurman.
“So, I was like 20 to 25 minutes late… and I was terrified, truly, on my first day, Ivan thinks that I’m some kind of diva not coming out of my trailer…
“Oh, man, I’m in the middle of the street that’s all lit. You know, it’s a night shoot. And Ivan is just taking me down.”
“Was he yelling at you?” asked Dunham.
“Yeah. He was just like, Annie! He always called me ‘Annie,’” said The Dictator star. “He’s like, ‘You can’t play like that around here’… And I was like, ‘Don’t do it, don’t cry, no crying.’ And I felt angry and hurt and humiliated and defensive. Eventually I said, ‘Did no one tell you what happened?’ And at that point he kind of just shut up and then he went behind the camera.”
“But then later, he slapped my ass, too,” she added. “That was a weird moment.”
Ivan Reitman, resting in peace or rolling in his grave, slapped Anna Faris’ ass, according to Faris. In front of about 30 people no less.
“Great Man Syndrome”: When People Gawk and Don’t Stand Up for You
When Dunham asked her if anybody stepped in, Faris pointed out that they didn’t. It was 2006 and before #MeToo, thus the pre-anti-sexual-harassment-mobilization era.
“I think that I’m still of the generation and of the mentality of like, how to calibrate that element,” said The House Bunny actress. “Like, on one hand, it wasn’t anything. Whatever. My ass is fine. On the other hand, it was like, I did have like 30 people around me, I think expecting me to do something. And I didn’t.”
Faris speaks to a common theme among Millennial and Gen X actresses. We recently published a piece about Scarlett Johansson feeling caught up “between two worlds.” Older generations’ leading Hollywood females, like most women of their eras, used feminine wiles to get ahead. And then attention was brought to the insane amount of sexual harassment that women put up with. And things started to change.
So, for the Brokeback Mountain actress, it makes sense that she felt awkward. It’s almost as though saying nothing is a form of condoning the behavior. But on the other hand, as Dunham pointed out, it was sort of what she’d been trained to do.
“My mother always refers to it, when everybody kind of props up one man, and is quiet around him, she calls it ‘Great Man Syndrome,’” Dunham chimed. “And everyone had a bad case of Great Man Syndrome. I visited one of his sets once just to sit and watch for a few minutes and I remember thinking, ‘This is a comedy but no one’s laughing, and everybody’s scared.’” She added that she’d heard stories about Reitman before.
Anna Faris Brought This Story Up in 2017 but Didn’t Say Who It Was
Perhaps a testament to just how deeply sexual harassment can affect a person, especially when they speak out about it, is the fact that Faris waited until Reitman was dead to name him. But this isn’t the first time that she’d brought the story up.
In October 2017 — five years ago — Faris spoke about a director slapping her ass in front of a large group of cast and crew members while she was filming earlier in her career. What stood out to her was the fact that nobody stood up for her.
The topic came up on another episode of Unqualified. Faris and her guests were discussing the allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein, as many know, ended up with a 23-year prison sentence for third-degree rape and a criminal sex act. That’s in New York. But he is still potentially facing more charges in California, which may stack on anywhere from 123 years to life.