Jennifer Esposito Says A “Harvey Weinstein-Esque” Producer Almost “Killed” Her Careet At 26

Jennifer Esposito

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 12: Jennifer Esposito attends The Canva Director's Brunch on June 12, 2023 in New York City. Mike Coppola / Getty Images for 2023 Tribeca Festival

As she makes her directorial debut, Jennifer Esposito recently reflected on how her early career was impacted by a “Harvey Weinstein-esque” producer.

The Fresh Kills writer and director recalled the “really painful time” in her life, when the producer had her fired “for no reason” and went on to lie about her on-set behavior, telling others not to work with her.

“He literally had the power and used it to completely end a young girl’s career at 26 years old,” said Esposito on the She Pivots podcast. “This was a notorious, brutal producer, a Harvey Weinstein-esque type person.”

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She recalled, “So, he fired me for no reason. He wanted someone else, and he got her. But then, anybody that called and was like, ‘Hey, I want to hire her,’ he’s like, ‘Don’t hire her.’ He said I was a drug addict, locked myself in a trailer — never happened.”

Esposito said her agency also dropped her due to the fallout. “I casually got moved to the desk of the assistant and then casually [pushed] out the door, and I couldn’t get work. I didn’t have an agent and a manager for two and a half years,” she said.

jennifer esposito says a “harvey weinstein-esque” producer almost “killed” her careet at 26

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Although she did not name the producer or the project from which she was fired, Esposito said it “was a really, really painful time” for her, adding: “Because that kid who was waiting tables and that kid who had these dreams since she was a baby, he literally took it because he could and killed it.”

Esposito helms and stars in Fresh Kills as Francine, the wife of an organized crime boss in 1980s New York City. The movie also marks her first time writing and directing a film.

“I know for a fact that if that didn’t happen with that producer and my road was easier, I would have never wrote and directed what I just did,” said Esposito on She Pivots. “Fresh Kills, the film, was for the 26-year-old kid who got slaughtered.”

Now playing in theaters, Fresh Kills brings late 1980s Staten Island to life through the lens of Rose Larusso (Emily Bader), an inquisitive young girl who discovers her father (Domenick Lombardozzi) is an emerging mafia kingpin. Rose’s growing desire to break free from the path set before her soon threatens her existence and alienates her from her closest allies: her mother Francine (Esposito), her sister Connie (Odessa A’zion), and her aunt Christine (Annabella Sciorra).

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