She Said: Maria Schrader explains how she got Ashley Judd on board

One of the most powerful moments in Maria Schrader’s She Said – the story the New York Times’ investigation into accusations of sexual abuse by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein – is when Ashley Judd appears on screen as herself. And, as the director has revealed, it was “an easy decision” for the actor.

She Said is released in cinemas on 25 November.

Video transcript

FREDA COOPER: The moment in the film that really made me sit bolt upright was when we saw Ashley Judd. And I wondered how she reacted when you approached her to be involved in the film and actually to play herself.

MARIA SCHRADER: Yes. You know, she happened to be in Berlin, in my hometown. And while I was preparing this movie and meeting everyone on Zoom because I couldn't leave my country because of COVID, right, she happened to be in Berlin, and we had coffee. And she, of course, wanted to meet that person who is about to direct all of this. And it was an incredible, impressive meeting, and she's just a very impressive person.

And at the end, after having a cup of coffee, she said, so we're going to do this together, right? And I said, I'd be so honored. And this is, of course, a special situation because all the other characters are portrayed by actors. And now here is Ashley Judd--

FREDA COOPER: Or we don't see them at all.

MARIA SCHRADER: Right. Here's Ashley Judd playing Ashley Judd. And I told her, this is your stage. You, of course, are in charge how to portray Ashley Judd, and I will be happily watching. She probably needed to meet the people involved, right? And she didn't know me before, and-- but she knew the producer. And she said-- being on stage at the premiere in the New York Film Festival, she was there.

And, I mean, the audience went, giving her a standing ovation for, yeah, for that bravery, right, for the bravery to allow these journalists to use her name and to really going on the record and then contributing to this film. She became an activist, as we know, right? And she said, yes, it was an easy decision for her, and she felt validated. And-- and she's proud.