As Hollywood reels with shock amid a national reckoning on sexual harassment and assault, one famous face has been confronting the disturbing phenomenon head on: David Schwimmer.
And now the actor and activist, best known of course for playing Ross in Friends, could be taking part in an Israeli film about that very topic. In a panel discussion hosted by the women’s online magazine Saloona last week, Israeli-American writer and director Sigal Avin said she and Schwimmer may team up again soon to create a short film about the sexual assault case of Israeli actor Moshe Ivgy.
The duo have worked together already on the US version of Avin’s short film series That’s Harassment
. Avin created a series of clips in Hebrew last year called “Zeh Matrid” depicting sexual harassment, starring Israeli superstar Lior Ashkenazi, among others. She translated them into English earlier this year and filmed them with a variety of Hollywood stars, including Schwimmer.
“I spoke yesterday with David Schwimmer and we discussed together the idea for a screenplay based on [Ivgy],” said Avin on Wednesday. “I told him details about the case and he was shocked even despite what is going on in the US.”
Ivgy, one of Israel’s most celebrated actors of TV, film and stage, was accused last year by at least six women of sexual assault and harassment. In August, police recommended he be indicted on four accounts of sexual assault, though media reports have indicated he will take a plea deal and avoid an indictment. The Haifa District Attorney’s Office has said that no final decision has been made.
Avin explained during the panel that the video based on Ivgy would be filmed in Israel.
“We decided that to film the video David will come to Israel and, according to the screenplay, will walk in the street and sexually harass a woman, and then do other terrible crimes – kill, steal, hit someone with his car,” said Avin. “When he gets to the court the judge will say ‘Hi! You’re David Schwimmer!’ And he’ll acquit him, and at the end of the film he’ll leave the court and a crowd of fans will be cheering him on. And the film will be called Celebrity Discount.”
Avin clarified on Thursday that the video was currently just an idea she and Schwimmer had discussed, and not in any stage of production.
The English version of Avin’s film series was shot in six parts: The Photographer, The Coworker, The Actor, The Boss, The Doctor
and The Politician
. In addition to Schwimmer the films starred Cynthia Nixon, Michael Kelly, Bobby Cannavale, Emmy Rossum and more. Each film depicts sexual harassment taking place in an average workplace setting, showing how quickly normal conversation can take a dark turn.
“In the course of these stories and this process, I was repeatedly putting myself in the mindset of what it must be like to be a woman in the world today,” Schwimmer told Cosmopolitan
in an interview about the project earlier this year. “When you’ve been objectified your entire life and become accustomed to being a second-class citizen in many, many ways – constantly told that you aren’t worth the same as men, basically, and that your body comes first, or what you look like comes first – it makes a lot more sense to me that a lot of women don’t even recognize when they’re being harassed. Because you spend your whole life not being treated with the kind of respect that men are automatically given.”
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