John Malkovich will play a Harvey Weinstein-like character in new David Mamet play ‘Bitter Wheat’

John Malkovich will star in David Mamet’s “Bitter Wheat” as a Harvey Weinstein-inspired character in London this summer.
(Jordan Strauss / Invision/Associated Press)

John Malkovich will grace the London stage this summer to play an unpleasant yet prominent Hollywood movie tycoon accused of sexual misconduct.

On Tuesday, producers announced that the Oscar-nominated actor will play the leading role in David Mamet’s “Bitter Wheat” in its London world premiere. The play tells the story of a “depraved Hollywood mogul” whose sexual transgressions result in a steep demise.

In an interview with the BBC, Malkovich said the play “started as a reaction to all the news that came out, in particular about Harvey Weinstein” but clarified that the leading character, named Barney Fein, is “not particularly Harvey Weinstein.”


Malkovich said the play “is a black farce about a very badly behaved movie mogul.” The story, he added, “is a great deal about [the Hollywood] business.”

He’s not expecting everyone to love the work, he admitted.

“Of course, it might upset people who’ve experienced the kind of treatment that the play describes and that we watch. But what can I do about that?” he said, adding that he thinks “it’s a terrific piece of writing.”

In October 2017, the New York Times and the New Yorker published stories describing decades of sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein by dozens of women, many of whom were leading Hollywood actresses. The news echoed across the world and sparked the #MeToo movement.

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The former movie producer has denied all accusations of non-consensual sex.

Mamet will direct “Bitter Wheat,” which will run at London’s Garrick Theatre from June 7 to Sept. 14.