Pasadena, Calif. • Actor-turned-activist Rose McGowan thinks she knows how to make the Sundance Film Festival — the event she was attending when one of the worst events in her life happened — a safe space for women.
But, she told TV critics recently, it’s not a quick or easy fix.
Basically, the entire culture of the entertainment industry has to change, she said. And American culture has to change.
“You’ve got 96 percent male directors in the DGA,” she said. “Fix that, and then you’ll have a different Sundance, won’t you?”
It’s not just that the membership of the Directors Guild is overwhelmingly male; so are Hollywood producers and executives. As are executives in most industries. So McGowan’s solution is to “fix it in every industry, because we all know the truth.”
She’s doing what she can with her upcoming documentary series, “Citizen Rose,” which debuts Jan. 30 on E!
“My story is that I’ve talked for 20 years and nobody would listen,” McGowan said.
They’re listening now when she talks about how, she says, Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted her at a Park City hotel room during the 1997 Sundance Film Festival.
(McGowan insisted journalists not speak Weinstein’s name when interviewing her.)
Details about “Citizen Rose” are vague at this point — except that she began working on it three years ago, long before allegations about Weinstein being a sexual predator broke in October.
“So as all this blew up this [past] fall, we were filming all through this,” said executive producer Jonathan Murray.
McGowan said her plans go back even further than when she trademarked “Rose Army” three years ago; she joined the cast of the TV series “Charmed” in 2001, “so when the news [about Weinstein] broke, I could have a foothold and people would pay attention in every region across the globe. This was a long plan.”
The docu-series is just part of the plan.
“I’m a director. I have an album coming out,” McGowan said. “I am an author. That’s the No. 1 thing. I just wrote a 300-page book coming out that is about teaching people how to be brave. It is exactly the opposite of what everybody thinks it is.”
The book “takes you through my life. … It’s uplifting. It’s fierce. It’s free. The album that I have is the other half that goes with the book. The show is the other part of that. It’s all Rose Army. It’s all tied together.”
McGowan is nothing if not self-aware.
“It’s a weird thing to be a human lightning rod for your whole life,” she said. “I know I made people uncomfortable. I know that.”
She smiled as she said, “I scare because I care,” acknowledging she lifted the line from the movie “Monsters, Inc.”
“Sometimes I feel like I speak a different language than everybody. I’m not sure. But I don’t understand why people just don’t tell the truth. It’s not going to kill you. It’s OK.”
And she’s not at all apologetic about the fact that her fame means she has a book and an album and a docu-series on E!
“I love it when people are, like, ‘You’re so lucky you have a platform,’” McGowan said. “I’m, like, ‘Do you understand what I have been through for 20 years? Do you understand that my sitting here is a miracle?’
“I have fought. I have clawed. I have scraped. And I have done it strategically so I could arrive at this moment. It’s not an accident that I’m sitting here. And I earned it.”