With Mike Nichols’ “Working Girl” celebrating its 30th anniversary this month, the Hollywood Reporter gathered the film’s original stars — Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver, Joan Cusack, Oliver Platt — and more to reflect on the making of the film and its legacy, including how Kevin Spacey’s “first big role” has become an unfortunate coincidence.
“It’s a strange coincidence that Kevin’s now ostracized because of his actions, his sexual proclivity or whatever,” Griffith, 61, says. “In ‘Working Girl’, I jump out of the car because of his [character’s] sexual advances. There are millions of women who had that experience, and that’s why so many women love that movie and, to this day, tell me how we changed their lives.”
“The film dealt with sexual harassment, gender barriers, class barriers, privilege, snobbery from not having an Ivy League education. In many ways, the movie was way ahead of its time,” adds producer Kevin Wade.
Co-star Oliver Platt agrees: “Kevin Spacey’s character and I were the pigs, sort of the inciting #MeToo’ers. Here’s the sad thing: Those pigs were a dime a dozen on Wall Street. I thought I was playing a rare pig but what we’ve discovered is that there was nothing unusual about that guy at all.”
The role of Tess, the woman with “a head for business and a bod for sin,” was 30-year-old Griffith’s breakout performance.
“[“Working Girl”] changed everything. Everybody knew who I was all of a sudden, and I got a lot of jobs, and I never stopped working until I stopped working,” she tells THR. Griffith was nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for her performance. “It was crazy. I started crying, happy tears,” she says on hearing about her Oscar nomination.
For Ford, being in the movie offered the actor a chance to step out of the world of Indiana Jones and Han Solo.
“It was a tactic of mine at the time to look for something different to what I had lately done. I mean, that’s usually how the choice was made,” the 76-year-old actor says. “It was more like a party than a movie. I always loved shooting in New York, especially with Mike, because we never failed to have a nice lunch.”
In addition to changing Griffith’s career, the actress says the movie’s positive message is something that still resonates today.
“It was great to have that life change be with such a positive story and a good message,” she says. “It’s an example of how to speak up and stand up for yourself and not sell yourself out for a job or a guy. You don’t have to acquiesce to a man or a woman.”