While the ongoing trial of disgraced mega-producer Harvey Weinstein is not being televised, those interested in what is going on inside the courtroom can experience the trial “unfiltered” through a creative new podcast. A pair of producers who’ve helped popularize verbatim theater based on official court transcripts and documents from national stories — including the Michael Brown case and the famous affair between two anti-Trump FBI lovers — are offering listeners a glimpse into what is taking place behind closed courtroom doors each day.
The podcast, titled “The Harvey Weinstein Trial: Unfiltered,” launched last Wednesday, the first day of the most high-profile #MeToo trial to date, involving the man at the center of the accusations that sparked the movement. The goal of the project, co-producer Phelim McAleer told The Daily Wire in a statement, is to use the verbatim approach “to go around the mainstream media filter and reveal the truth” about the trial, which is expected to last about five weeks. “The verbatim podcast means the truth is available for all,” said the producer.
The daily podcasts feature “veteran voice actors recreating the drama, allegations, emotions, and anger” using court transcripts to “bring the courtroom to life for an international audience,” a press release for the podcast explains. The show also offers context and commentary from McAleer and co-producer Ann McElhinney.
“We are taking podcasts and news reporting to the next level by creating the verbatim podcast genre series,” McAleer said in a statement included in the release. “Until now, podcasts have either been run-of-the-mill talk shows on demand or dated documentaries. With The Weinstein Trial: Unfiltered we are bringing the truth to people as it happens in the most dramatic and informative way, on demand and available every day anywhere in the world. It’s why the podcast medium was invented.”
“Most of the media will carry a 500 word article or a seven or three minute cable animated discussion of the day’s evidence, but we are allowing listeners to experience the actual words of victims, investigators, and the accused,” said McElhinney. “It will bring them right into the truth of the Weinstein case and the #MeToo movement. And it’s going to be released daily, free and on demand.”
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, McAleer, who is attending the trial each day, provides transcripts to the director of the project, who then works with the cast on the performance. The verbatim reenactment is recorded and released the same day. “While the words will be verbatim, they’ll boil it down to about the best 45 minutes of each day’s proceedings and make the finished product available at WeinsteinPodcast.com, Spotify and other outlets,” THR explains. With four episodes thus far released, the show, which includes the verbatim performances and the commentary by the pair of producers, is averaging between 45 to 60 minutes.
Among some of the high-profile figures who could be called to to testify are “Rosie Perez, Selma Hayek, Charlize Theron, attorney Gloria Allred, representatives from The Weinstein Co. and Miramax along with Harvey Weinstein’s brother, Bob,” THR notes. “Emails sent and received by Harvey Weinstein through the years are also expected to be read in court.”
The producers have provided the following profiles of some of the podcast’s performers and their roles:
MICHAEL BEATTIE (James Burke, Judge) Beattie is an Award winning Canadian-American Actor and Voice Actor. His recent work includes multiple supporting roles in The Lorax, Minions, The Secret Life of Pets, Despicable Me 3, The Grinch, and The Secret Life of Pets 2.
CAITLIN CARLETON (Donna Rotunno, Defense Attorney) Carleton is an actor and director. She was recently nominated by The Broadway World Regional Awards for Best Leading Actress for her role as Rosannah DeLuce in Brilliant Traces. “Corporately Challenged” the comedic pilot she starred in & co-produced with Shannon Phipps just started its festival run, and won Best Series Pilot at the Austin Indie Fest. She has two short films and a web series in post-production.
MICHELLE GARDNER (Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, Prosecutor) Gardner is an award-winning actor, writer and producer working in film and television. Michelle began her career in the theatre in such roles as Anita in West Side Story and Miss Hannigan in Annie. Her screen credits include: “Transparent,” “The Fosters,” “Bones,” “Criminal Minds,” “The Closer,” Horrible Bosses 2, “The Mentalist,” “Six Feet Under,” “House,” “S.W.A.T.,” “I Think You Should Leave” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” where she enjoys playing Mom to young Levi “Glasses” Schmitt.
DAVID STANBRA (Damon Cheronis, Defense Attorney) Stanbra was raised in San Diego,CA and his credits include the upcoming “Lovecraft Country” (HBO), “True Detective Season 3” (HBO), “The Leftovers” (HBO), “Gentefied,” “Criminal Minds,” “Without a Trace,” “Lincoln Heights,” “General Hospital,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “The Chocolate News,” “Notorious,” and “Infamous: Second Son.” David resides in Los Angeles, CA with his wife and two children.