Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Producer Harvey Weinstein arrives at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles in February 2009.
Producer Harvey Weinstein arrives at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles in February 2009. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Many industry watchers view producer Harvey Weinstein's Best Picture Oscar for The King's Speech as a comeback of sorts for the Hollywood titan.
Last year, Weinstein and his brother, Bob, tried unsuccessfully to buy back Miramax — the acclaimed film company they founded in 1979 — from the Walt Disney Co. Weinstein tells NPR's Scott Simon that it was a difficult time.
"I had 25 years in a row of unparalleled success, and then I have three years where it all seemed upside down," Weinstein says. "And I will tell anyone who goes through that — at the time it's painful and torturous, but it's so good to come out the other side, because I appreciate what I do."
The Weinsteins are known for producing artsy, edgy, richly textured films that win awards and admiration, like The Crying Game; Sex, Lies, and Videotape; and Shakespeare In Love. They also get credit for offbeat commercial hits like Pulp Fiction. And they take chances on dream projects, like Good Will Hunting.
Over time, Harvey Weinstein became as famous for his hot temper as he was for his filmography. He's mellowed, he says, thanks to his four daughters, who help him keep a decent perspective. Weinstein admits this temper was "as bad as they say it was."
Weinstein is looking ahead to his next film, Miral, which has been enveloped by controversy. The movie, directed by Julian Schnabel, tells the story of an orphaned Palestinian girl who grows up in the wake of the first Arab-Israeli war.
"It's probably one of the more incendiary films I've been involved with," Weinstein says. "I've actually had serious, serious, serious problems."
"I don't understand why this movie should have the kind of backlash that it's having," he continues. "It should be embraced, because you'll never understand the Middle East unless you embrace that culture, too. And I think one of the problems of the Middle East is that the Palestinian conflict has lingered too long. We need to find the solution. "