A new director has been hired after Matthew Newton revealed that he will step down as director of the upcoming Jessica Chastain movie “Eve”, following fan backlash over his past domestic abuse allegations.
On Aug. 10, the 41-year-old director released a statement announcing his departure:
“Yesterday I notified Jessica Chastain and the other producers on the film ‘Eve’ that I will be stepping down as director,” Newton said in the statement. “Since the announcement of this film, the responses, which are powerful and important, have not fallen on deaf ears. I am profoundly aware that I have a responsibility to lead where I have failed in the past. I can never undo the harm that I’ve caused the people I’ve cared about and I carry that shame and responsibility with me every day.
“Over the past eight years I have been working extensively with healthcare professionals to help me overcome my addiction and mental health illness,” the director continued. “For the past six years I have lived a quiet and sober life. All I can do now is try to be a living amends and hopefully contribute to the positive change occurring in our industry.”
Newton’s charges of domestic abuse date back to 2007, when he pleaded guilty to assaulting his then-girlfriend Brooke Satchwell, an actress from popular Australian soap “Neighbours”. According to Digital Spy, his defence team later had the conviction overturned, citing mental illness.
In 2010, Newton was served a two-year apprehended domestic violence order after his then-fiancee Rachael Taylor, best known for her role in “Jessica Jones”, alleged “two unprovoked assaults.” The following year, Newton was charged with breaching the order.
According to Adelaide Now, Newton has been “diagnosed with bipolar depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social anxiety,” and spent time receiving psychiatric treatment following the breach of his court order.
Early this month, Chastain, an advocate for women in film and a huge supporter of the #TimesUp movement, had been accused of hypocrisy for working with the director.
After Newton’s exit, The Hollywood Reporter broke the story that director Tate Taylor was hired to take over.
This isn’t the first time that Taylor and Chastain have worked together; he previously directed her in “The Help”, a performance that won her an Oscar nomination. Taylor also directed such films as “The Girl on the Train” and the James Brown biopic “Get On Up”.
Back in 2016, Chastain launched an all-female production company, Freckle Films, which will co-produce “Eve”. Following the revelations about Harvey Weinstein, the 41-year-old actress became a spokesperson for the #TimesUp campaign.
“I’ve always made choices, in all the work that I’ve done, to make sure that on any film set that I’m working with people that there isn’t a question about whether or not abuse has taken place,” she previously said in an interview with Australia’s The Feed. “It’s very important to me that I practise what I preach, and that my actions follow my words.”