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John Malkovich to play ‘depraved Hollywood mogul’ based on Harvey Weinstein

John Malkovich will return to the West End for the first time in 30 years (Ian West/PA)
John Malkovich will return to the West End for the first time in 30 years (Ian West/PA)

John Malkovich is to play a character inspired by Harvey Weinstein in his first West End play in nearly 30 years.

The Oscar-nominated actor will explore the Me Too movement in Bitter Wheat as he stars as Barney Fein – a Hollywood producer and “bloated monster”.

A release by the production described Fein as a “depraved Hollywood mogul” who “devours the young he has lured to his cave”.

It said the tale “rips the pashmina off the suppurating wound which is showbusiness”.

Harvey Weinstein allegations
Allegations against Harvey Weinstein triggered industry-wide soul-searching (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Malkovich told the BBC that Weinstein was the “starting point” for the play and “a reaction to the all the news that came out last year” about him.

As the production developed, however, it came to explore wider questions of power in the entertainment industry.

The play is written and directed by Pulitzer prize winner David Mamet, while Smack The Pony star Doon Mackichan plays Fein’s assistant, Sondra.

Malkovich starred in Con Air and Mulholland Drive and more recently appeared as Poirot in The ABC Murders for BBC One.

Graham Norton Show – London
John Malkovich stars as mogul Barney Fein in Bitter Wheat (Matt Crossick/PA)

He found a younger audience over Christmas starring in Netflix horror-thriller Bird Box alongside Sandra Bullock.

Allegations of sexual assault against Weinstein, one of Hollywood’s most powerful figures, triggered an industry-wide reckoning for men accused of improper behaviour.

It quickly spread beyond the confines of the industry, with millions of women using the hashtag #MeToo to tell their stories of sexual harassment and discrimination.

The play opens on June 7 at the Garrick Theatre and further casting is yet to be announced.

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