Arts & Culture

Harvey Weinstein Says He Won’t Try to Profit from Mandela’s Death

The movie mogul’s ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’ is out in select theaters Read More

By / December 9, 2013

In the wake of Nelson Mandela’s death, Harvey Weinstein has made clear that he will not change any of the release plans to The Weinstein Company’s Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. In an interview with TheWrap, Weinstein got emotional, explaining that the film is currently showing in four theaters, and that it will move to over 800 theaters, as planned, on Christmas Day.

“This issue is important to me personally,” he told TheWrap . “There are no opportunities. I’m just going to respect the will of the family through Zindzi Mandela.”

Last week, the New York Times reported that over in Hollywood, some were suspicious of Weinstein’s rights to the Mandela biopic, considering he has historically built publicity around his films (see Fruitvale Station).

Some Hollywood insiders have speculated that Mr. Weinstein bought the rights to “Long Walk to Freedom” in February partly because he saw an opportunity in Mr. Mandela’s failing health. “Not at all,” a Weinstein spokeswoman said on Friday. “When we saw the footage, we all fell in love with it.”

But Weinstein was going to make the film with producer Anant Singh in 1999, though after some complications, Singh ended up going at in independently, TheWrap reports. And Weinstein maintains that his aims for the film are pure, especially given his own past.

“I have been so involved in politics of anti-apartheid,” he said. “I will reveal that my father was a soldier in World War II. His buddies told me my dad suffered greatly from anti-Semitism because he was down south in training before he went to active duty in Mediterranean. He had to defend himself.”

Harvey Weinstein Opens Up About ‘Mandela’ Plans in Wake of Leader’s Loss (Exclusive) [TheWrap]

(Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty)