Gwyneth Paltrow talks about her biggest fights with Harvey Weinstein

In this week’s Variety cover story, Gwyneth Paltrow looks back on the 20th anniversary of winning the best actress Oscar for “Shakespeare in Love.” The movie still holds up today, although there’s an ominous figure lurking in the credits. The romantic comedy was produced by Harvey Weinstein, and Paltrow spoke about working for the volcanic producer and Miramax boss.

“He was a bully,” Paltrow said. “I never had a problem standing up to him. I wasn’t scared of him. I also felt for a period of time, I was the consumer face of Miramax, and I felt it was my duty to push back against him. We had a lot of fights.”

For example, Weinstein refused to pay Paltrow her back-end compensation tied to the box office performance of 1996’s “Emma.” She pushed him until she received that money. “I got him to pay me something. I remember I got this legal letter that said, ‘This is not an acknowledgment that we owe you this money, but here’s a check.’”

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Gwyneth Paltrow with Harvey Weinstein in years past
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Gwyneth Paltrow with Harvey Weinstein in years past
Bob Weinstein and Gwyneth Paltrow during Miramax Pre-Oscar Party and 25th Anniversary Celebration - Inside at Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by J. Vespa/WireImage for Life & Style Weekly)
NEW YORK - APRIL 28: Head of The Weinstein Company Harvey Weinstein, actress Gwyneth Paltrow, and actress Liv Tyler attend the after-party for 'Iron Man' hosted by The Cinema Society and Michael Kors at The Odeon on April 28, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton walks with Miramax Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein and is followed by actress Gwyneth Paltrow into the premier of her new movie "Shakespeare in Love," in New York Thursday Dec. 3, 1998. (AP Photo/Stuart Ramson)
Film producer Harvey Weinstein and actress Gwyneth Paltrow arrive for the 50th anniversary gala of the NFT at the National Film Theatre on the South Bank in London. (Photo by Yui Mok - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Harvey Weinstein and Gwyneth Paltrow (holding a bfi Fellowship Award for outstanding contribution to cinema given to Harvey and Bob Weinstein) during the 50th anniversary gala of the NFT at the National Film Theatre on the South Bank in London. (Photo by Yui Mok - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 21 : 'Shakespeare in Love' Best Actress winner Gwyneth Paltrow (center) is joined by Harvey Weinstein (center lett) David Parfitt (left), Donna Gigliotti,Edward Zwick and Marc Norman (right) backstage as they celebrated their win of Best Picture at the 1999 Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, March 21, 1999.(Photo by Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images)
David Parfitt, Donna Gigliotti, Harvey Weinstein (3rd left), Edward Zwick, and Gwyneth Paltrow (3rd right) (Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage)
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On “Shakespeare in Love,” Paltrow had tested with Joseph Fiennes for the title role as the young playwright Will. But at Miramax, with “Good Will Hunting” poised to be a hit, Weinstein preferred someone else for the part. “At the last minute, Harvey wanted Ben Affleck to take over and play Shakespeare,” said Paltrow, who had to intervene and stop that idea. “I said, ‘No, you can’t do that. You have to have an English person.’” Weinstein eventually conceded, and Affleck joined the cast as Ned Alleyn, one of the Globe’s actors.

Paltrow described what it was like to deal with Weinstein. “He was a very difficult boss,” she said. “It was a fraught relationship. We would get in knock-down, drag-out fights. I remember once, my mother [Blythe Danner] walked in a room, and I was yelling at him about something. She was like, ‘Who was that on the phone?’” When Paltrow told her, she responded, “Oh, my goodness, good for you. Stand up for yourself.”

Paltrow was among the dozens of women to come forward in 2017 to accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct. In an article published in the New York Times, Paltrow revealed a secret that she’d kept for most of her professional life. At the start of “Emma,” Weinstein summoned Paltrow to a hotel room, put his hands on her and asked her for a massage. “I had one really uncomfortable, weird experience; then he was never inappropriate with me again in that way,” Paltrow told Variety.

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Gwyneth Paltrow in the 1990s
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Gwyneth Paltrow in the 1990s
Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Moss, and Liv Tyler (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Actress Blythe Danner and daughter actress Gwyneth Paltrow attend 'The Prince of Tides' Century City Premiere on December 11, 1991 at Cineplex Odeon Century Plaza Cinemas in Century City, California.
CRUEL DOUBT -- Air Date 05/17/1992 -- Pictured: Gwyneth Paltrow as Angela Pritchard -- Photo by: Gary Null/NBCU Photo Bank
CRUEL DOUBT -- Air Date 05/17/1992 -- Pictured: (l-r) Blythe Danner as Bonnie Von Stein, Gwyneth Paltrow as Angela Pritchard -- Photo by: Bruce Birmelin/NBCU Photo Bank
CRUEL DOUBT -- Air Date 05/17/1992 -- Pictured: Gwyneth Paltrow as Angela Pritchard -- Photo by: Bruce Birmelin/NBCU Photo Bank
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow attends the 'Flesh & Bone' Hollywood Premiere on November 4, 1993 at Paramount Theatre in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Blythe Danner and daughter actress Gwyneth Paltrow attend 'The Saint of Fort Washington' New York City Premiere on November 16, 1993 at the Worldwide Plaza Cinema in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow and actor Leonardo DiCaprio attend the 65th Annual National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Awards on February 28, 1994 at The Equitable Center in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Gwyneth Paltrow and Leonardo DiCaprio (Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage)
Actor Brad Pitt and actress Gwyneth Paltrow attend the 'Living in Oblivion' West Los Angeles Premiere on July 12, 1995 at the Royal Theatre in West Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actor Brad Pitt and actress Gwyneth Paltrow attend the 'Living in Oblivion' West Los Angeles Premiere on July 12, 1995 at the Royal Theatre in West Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actor Brad Pitt and actress Gwyneth Paltrow attend the 'Hamlet' Broadway Play Opening Night Performance on May 2, 1995 at the Belasco Theatre in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow attends The Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute Gala Exhibiton of 'Haute Couture' on December 4, 1995 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow and actor Brad Pitt attend the 53rd Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 21, 1996 at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actor Brad Pitt and actress Gwyneth Paltrow attend 'The Pallbearer' New York City Premiere on April 28, 1996 at the Tribeca Film Center in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow attends the 'Emma' New York City Premiere on July 22, 1996 at the Paris Theatre in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow and actress Blythe Danner attend the 'Emma' New York City Premiere on July 22, 1996 at the Paris Theatre in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actor Brad Pitt and actress Gwyneth Paltrow attend 'The Devil's Own' New York City Premiere on March 13, 1997 at City Cinemas Cinema 1 in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow departs for New York City on July 30, 1997 from the Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Producer Bruce Paltrow, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and actress Blythe Danner attend the 'Hard Eight' Hollywood Premiere on February 23, 1997 at Paramount Theatre in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow attends the 'Great Expectations' Century City Premiere on January 20, 1998 at Cineplex Odeon Century Plaza Cinemas in Century City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow attends the 'Shakespeare in Love' New York City Premiere on December 3, 1998 at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow and actor Ben Affleck attend the Fifth Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on March 7, 1999 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Director/Producer Steven Spielberg and actress Gwyneth Paltrow attend the Fourth Annual GQ Men of the Year Awards on October 21, 1999 at the Beacon Theater in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow attends 'The Talented Mr. Ripley' Westwood Premiere on December 12, 1999 at Mann Village Theatre in Westwood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow attends the Fifth Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on March 7, 1999 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
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Weinstein was ousted from the Academy in 2017, after the stories were published. (Ronan Farrow also wrote a series of bombshell articles in the New Yorker. Before talking to the Times, Paltrow had connected with investigative reporter Jodi Kantor through a mutual friend, “Girls” showrunner Jenni Konner. “I spoke to Jodi all summer, not knowing if I would go on the record or not,” Paltrow said. “But just trying to help her with the story as much as I could.”

Paltrow eventually decided that she’d tell her story. “It was a scary thing to do, because all of the systems that were in place up until that always chewed up and spit out the women who came forward,” Paltrow said. She saw it as a turning point. “It felt like, this is over. This ends now. We’re not doing this anymore. People can’t do this anymore.”

“Shakespeare in Love” went on to win seven Oscars, including best picture. Paltrow doesn’t believe that Weinstein’s involvement with the film tarnishes its legacy. “It’s a beautiful film,” Paltrow said. “A movie is not going to be successful if it’s not a good movie, not like that.”

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