Matthew Newton steps down as director of Jessica Chastain-starring movie 'Eve' after heavy backlash

Newton was appointed as the director of 'Eve' only last week but has stepped down from the project after facing backlash.


                            Matthew Newton steps down as director of Jessica Chastain-starring movie 'Eve' after heavy backlash

Matthew Newton, best-known for writing, directing, and starring in 'Three Blind Mice,' was only announced as the director of the Jessica Chastain-starring 'Eve' last week but has now stepped down after facing backlash over his selection from numerous quarters. The 41-year-old director has a chequered past with violence against women, with several incidents of domestic violence and assault widely being reported in Australian media between 2007 and 2012, and his recruitment on the project raising eyebrows. 

Newton also penned the script for the film and was set to feature in it as an actor. Described as a "character-driven action movie," Chastain was on board to produce and star, though the Golden Globe-winning and Oscar-nominated actress, a vocal proponent of the #MeToo movement, has maintained a silence over these latest developments. 

Newton has stepped down from directing 'Eve' (Source: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images)
Newton has stepped down from directing 'Eve' (Source: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images)

In a statement addressing his stepping down from the directorial chair, Newton said, "Yesterday I notified Jessica Chastain and the other producers on the film Eve that I will be stepping down as director. Since the announcement of this film, the responses, which are powerful and important, have not fallen on deaf ears. I am profoundly aware that I have a responsibility to lead where I have failed in the past."

"I can never undo the harm that I've caused the people I've cared about and I carry that shame and responsibility with me every day," the statement continued. "Over the past eight years, I have been working extensively with healthcare professionals to help me overcome my addiction and mental health illness. For the past six years, I have lived a quiet and sober life. All I can do now is try to be a living amends and hopefully contribute to the positive change occurring in our industry."

Newton is known to suffer from bipolar disorder, with the incidents of violence resulting in him spending time in a psychiatric unit for treatment. In 2006 he was charged with intimidation and assault occasioning actual bodily harm for repeatedly punching the head and attempting to gouge the eyes and face of ex-girlfriend Brooke Satchwell. 

Later, in 2010, he assaulted then-girlfriend Rachel Taylor by punching her in the face, resulting in her suffering a sprained jaw and a concussion after she hit her head on the hotel's marble floor. In 2011, he was charged with common assault after attacking a 66-year-old taxi driver in Sydney, and later in 2012, he was once again charged resisting arrest after he attacked a hotel receptionist. He subsequently checked into the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California for 90 days of alcohol and drug addiction treatment. 

The actor was most recently involved in 'Who Are We Now,' which he directed. The feature starred the likes of Julianne Nicholson, Emma Roberts, and Zach Quinto, and premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2017. It remains to be seen who will take up the reigns for 'Eve.'