Samuel Theis, who played the husband of Sandra Hüller’s character in Justine Triet’s Golden Globe-winning film “Anatomy of a Fall,” was ousted from the shoot of his third directorial outing, “Je te jure,” after being accused of rape by a crew member, Variety has confirmed. For the remainder of production, Theis remained on location but directed the film remotely.
The alleged sexual assault took place halfway through the shoot, in the aftermath of a party held at an apartment with the cast and crew on July 1, according to the French newspaper Liberation. The crew member spent the night in the flat where the party was held due to his state of inebriation and alleged he was raped by Theis in the early morning hours. The filmmaker, meanwhile, has argued that it was consensual, according to Liberation.
Shortly after, the crew member decided to leave the shoot. “Je te jure” producer Caroline Bonmarchand told Variety that after learning of the alleged incident, she tapped a third-party organization to conduct an internal investigation within the cast and crew. During the ongoing probe, Bonmarchand held meetings to come up with a preemptive solution, which was to remove Theis physically from the set and have him direct it remotely. Theis would come in the morning before the start of the shoot to lay everything out and would go into another room, Bonmarchand said. Actors could come to him if they needed to, and Theis would communicate with crew members via monitors.
Bonmarchand, who has attended a workshop to prevent sexual harassment and assault on set as part of the National Film Board’s rules to seek subsidies, said the protocol allowed the production to be completed despite the circumstances. Crew members were also given the possibility to speak to a psychologist.
The shoot ended later in July and, according to Telerama magazine, the crew member has since filed a police complaint against Theis. But Theis’ attorney, Marie Dosé, told Variety she isn’t aware of an official complaint and hasn’t been contacted about an ongoing investigation. At the time of publication, Variety was unable to access the complaint.
“The only investigation on this case was ordered by the production and carried out by an independent organization. It was delivered in September and it was 300 pages long — the conclusion is that there were no elements qualifying what happened of a sexual assault,” Dosé said in a statement. She added that the report included a witness who had entered the bedroom Theis and the accuser were in and described it as a “tender moment.”
“Je te jure” stars several non-professional actors, as well as major French stars such as Marina Foïs and Louise Bourgoin. Bonmarchand is one of France’s best known producers. Her company, Avenue B Productions, is behind a number of recent hits, including Sebastien Marnier’s “The Origin of Evil.”