In a revealing new interview with the Observer, the Shakespeare in Love star, 53, discussed why he turned down Weinstein's offer of a five-picture deal following the massive success of the 1998 film, which Weinstein's company Miramax produced.
Noting that he has “to be careful here,” Fiennes initially spoke off the record before revealing that the reason he turned down the deal from Weinstein was because of “a bullying tactic that didn’t sit well.” He claims he was summoned to Weinstein's hotel room, where the legendary producer described the contract to Fiennes in an allegedly aggressive manner that "made it clear he would now be in charge of Fiennes’s career," the article reads.
“The way he explained it was a shock to me. But I suddenly sat in the room very present, and happy and strong in myself to say, you know what, I’m not beholden to that," Fiennes recalled. "I’m stepping away.”
While he's unsure if he was subsequently punished by Weinstein for turning down the deal, Fiennes clarified that he didn't think it benefitted him either.
“I don’t think it helped me. Hurt? No, maybe not hurt. But he made it clear that he won’t support me. He’ll make a very strong movement not to support me," he shared. "I was out of the family. But I was very happy not to be in the family.”
Fiennes also spoke about his "wrong" decision to portray Michael Jackson in an episode of the 2016 anthology Urban Myths. In the program, Fiennes starred as Jackson opposite Succession star Brian Cox as Marlon Brando and Stockard Channing as Elizabeth Taylor, as the trio sets out on a road trip after 9/11.
Looking back, Fiennes said he believes "people are absolutely right to be upset” by his participation in the role. “And it was a wrong decision. Absolutely. And I’m one part of that — there are producers, broadcasters, writers, directors, all involved in these decisions," he said. "But you know, it came at a time where there was a movement and a shift and that was good, and it was, you know, a bad call. A bad mistake.”
At the time, the late pop star's daughter Paris Jackson tweeted that the show "honestly makes me want to vomit.” The episode was ultimately pulled before it was broadcast, with the Sky network releasing a statement that said the decision was made “in light of the concerns expressed by Michael Jackson’s immediate family."
Fiennes said he played a significant role in the decision to block the show from airing.
“I asked the broadcaster to pull it. And there were some pretty hefty discussions, but ultimately people made the right choice," he noted.