Here's a lovely bit of news to turn your stomach on a Saturday morning. Thandie Newton has revealed how she was abused on a casting couch when she was a teenager starting out in the acting biz. The 40-year-old actress says she is still scarred by the 'horrific' incident which involved an unnamed male director when she was just 18 and trying to get her big break.
Talking to CNN, Newton shared the horror story that is probably all too frequent in showbiz. 'It was a screen test. There were two other people in the room - the director and the casting director, who was a woman.The director asked me to sit with my legs apart - the camera was positioned where it could see up my skirt - to put my leg over the arm of the chair. Before I started my dialogue, [I was told to] think about the character I was supposed to be having the dialogue with and how it felt to be made love to by this person.
'I was thinking, 'This is so strange, why would I need to do that?' But this is the director, there is the casting director, [it] must be normal. I'm 18 years old, you know, and I'm thinking this is, obviously... I was in a protected... there were boundaries.'
Three years later, she discovered the video was being shown by the director - who she refuses to name for some bizarre reason - to other showbusiness figures.
Thandie - who now has two children with husband Oliver Parker - told CNN International journalist Max Foster: 'It turned out the director used to show that video late at night to interested parties at his house - a video of me touching myself with a camera up my skirt.'
Thandie chose to speak out about her abuse as part of an international campaign to end violence against women, One Billion Rising.