Ruth Wilson says she doesn’t think there should ever be a place for non-disclosure agreements in Hollywood.
The Are dark materials star discussed her stance on their historical use in the industry in a new one profile for The protector. The interview, published on Saturday, is linked to Wilson’s stage project, The second woman in the Young Vicand how the 24-hour performance, consisting of a single scene repeated 100 times in a loop, tests and challenges her as an artist.
At some point, the conversation turns to her departure The affair, something she again refuses to discuss “in any way, shape or form,” according to the outlet. “I don’t think there should be any NDAs,” she told the outlet when asked if there was a place for it. “If there is a problem, there is a problem. It needs to be addressed, not put under a NDA so you can’t talk about it.
Wilson further points to their infamous use by convicted rapist and former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein as further evidence of their arming. “It was a given that you had to sign those things…Even if you thought, ‘What? Real?’ They were like, ‘That’s how it works.’”
She also calls other members of the industry, including agents, producers and PR people, “complicate” in using it as a way to “protect the powerful.” #MeToo was important because it was unraveling that.”
Various sources told The Hollywood Reporter in a story published in December 2019 detailing Wilson’s decision to leave Showtime’s The affair was driven by what she felt was a “hostile” work environment — and one that was investigated in 2017 by the network’s parent company CBS. The star – who sources say was stopped by an NDA and thus unable to discuss the nature of her departure – had grown frustrated with the nudity demanded of her on the series.
That’s what a source said THR that the repeated calls for Wilson to bare her body had no purpose other than to be “exciting.” And while the first Affair star had signed a waiver of nudity during pilot testing, a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson said THR at the time artists are still required to “give meaningful consent and be treated with respect and dignity during production”.
Series creator Sarah Treem, in particular, was identified as having pressured Wilson to perform those scenes, with the actress reportedly generally labeled “difficult” as a result of her relapse. That included Wilson allegedly refusing to film a season two scene described by a source as “rapey,” which ended up being filmed by a body double who filed a separate lawsuit in 2017 and settled with the network over the conduct of a male assistant director. (Tree said THR the sequence that Wilson refused to film was written as a consensual sex scene, but that Wilson disagreed with the character’s choice.)
During the day The protector interview, Wilson also got candid about modern times’ hypocritical and confusing norms around “female empowerment,” why social media isn’t authentic, and why she thinks expecting unwavering solidarity among women is “unrealistic.” At one point, she calls efforts to promote the use of botox, cosmetic surgery, and other procedures like thread lifts “mass violence.”
“We’re like, ‘Wow’, today. But 200 years from now, they’ll look back at images of women now saying, “What were they doing?” ‘What’s That? You puff up your face and lips,” she added. “Still, it is a multi-billion dollar industry. And women are part of that industry and perpetuate this empowerment.”
Wilson also called out that “empowerment” specifically within Hollywood, explaining that to her, women are people like everyone else and therefore “expecting them all to support each other is kind of unrealistic.”
That inauthenticity can come out through social media, and while discussing how some of her friends have become “obsessed” with their social feeds, Wilson criticizes how the medium has spawned performance activism, including feminism. “Nothing is real. I don’t believe any of it. Nobody has real or strong beliefs,” she said. “They’re just dictated.”
That’s something Wilson also points out in Hollywood – a place where a certain “game” is played that she’s not interested in. She saw it in a way around #MeToo, with the actress saying she’s not entirely convinced that the urge to change came from the most genuine. Instead, she calls the shifts a “survival instinct” in a “fickle” industry that has “no moral backbone.”
“People were like, ‘We’re going to have a meeting about how badly we’ve behaved and then it’ll all be okay.’ It surprised me,” she said. “So many people don’t really believe anything — only what makes them money. They’re opportunists. You see that. But it makes you think about what you want, what’s important. Do you want to live in that world Or would you rather do something else, like this weird 24-hour play where you can explore things in a safe environment?”