Podtalk: Writer/Director Kitty Green Reveals ‘The Assistant’

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CHICAGO – Gratefully, we live in a post-Weinstein environment of #metoo, and one of the first films to comment upon it is “The Assistant,” written and directed by Kitty Green. Coming off its run at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, the film explores a low level female production assistant (PA) as she navigates an office overwhelmed by a successful-but-abusive bossman.

Day After Day: Julia Garner is ‘The Assistant’
Photo credit: Bleecker Street Media

Interestingly, writer/director Green creates a mundane atmosphere for PA Jane (Julia Garner), who has been on the job for five weeks at the film company. What she observes and experiences is appalling conduct from the powerful head of the company, both in his sexual manipulation and anger-addicted abuse. What is unique about the film’s statement is that the whole office is complicit, as to excuse the behavior means holding onto their highly sought-after jobs, and staying quiet about mistreatment. The setting is pre-Weinstein, and presents a day-in-the-life of Jane, who is punished by her status as newest employee and her need to express what she observes. By exploring this angle, the story is much more like real life, in both its mendacity and the cringe-worthy acceptance of a powerful person’s immoral behavior.

This is Kitty Green’s narrative feature debut, after a career in documentaries, including 2017’s “Casting JonBenét,” which profiled actors who were auditioning for the various roles in a depiction of the JonBenét Ramsey murder case. She was inspired to write “The Assistant” based on her own experiences in the film business.

Writer/Director Kitty Green on the Set of ‘The Assistant’
Photo credit: Bleecker Street Media

In the following Podtalk, Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com talks to to writer/director Kitty Green of “The Assistant” about the background issues that drives the film, and her view of the paradigm shift within the show industry.

”The Assistant” continues its limited release in Chicago on February 7th. See local listings for theaters and showtimes. Featuring Julia Garner, Matthew Macfayden, Kristine Froseth, Jon Orsini, Noah Robbins and Stéphanye Dussud. Written and directed by Kitty Green. Rated “R”

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2020 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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