At the beginning of August, Jessica Chastain announced that, through her production company, she would be producing and starring in a new character-driven action film called Eve. Australian director Matthew Newton, who also wrote the film, was set to direct and produce. This announcement was met with swift and fierce backlash against the actress and the film because Matthew Newton plead guilty to assaulting his girlfriend in Australia back in 2007. Amid the backlash, Matthew Newton has now left the project.
Matthew Newton, whose most recent film, the critically acclaimed Who We Are Now, released in the U.S. earlier this year, seems to have left Eve voluntarily, according to Deadline. He released a statement addressing the criticisms, acknowledging his past mistakes, the efforts he’s made to change and his desire to do better in the future and contribute to the positive change occurring in the industry. A replacement director for Eve has not been announced at this time.
In light of the ongoing #MeToo movement and Time’s Up campaign, Jessica Chastain was criticized for working with Matthew Newton. Jessica Chastain has been a vocal supporter of those movements and has spoken about female empowerment and equal pay, so for some fans, her working with Matthew Newton seemed hypocritical. So petitions started popping up and there was a great deal of criticism on social media, which clearly they heard because Matthew Newton will no longer be directing Eve. By dropping out, Matthew Newton seemingly spares the film from further controversy on his account.
What is interesting here is that similar to the James Gunn situation with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the script is already written, as Eve is based on Matthew Newton’s original script. So unless they scrap the script, his name would seemingly still be on the film should it find a new director and make it to theaters, leaving it still open to controversy. Although the script is already written and presumably paid for, and not as much attention is paid to who wrote a film as to who directed it. Despite that, it is still worth noting and watching how it is addressed going forward.
When Eve was announced, no release date was given, so they should have plenty of time to find a suitable replacement for the exiting Matthew Newton. Also, other than being a character-driven action movie, the plot details for Eve are being kept under wraps at this time.