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Director Matthew Newton exits Jessica Chastain film after backlash

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Matthew Newton is a director, writer and actor

The director of a new film starring Jessica Chastain has stepped down after criticism surrounding a history of domestic abuse allegations against him.

Matthew Newton was announced as the director of Eve last week.

He faced a string of allegations in his native Australia between 2007 and 2012. On Friday he said he was “profoundly aware that I have a responsibility to lead where I have failed in the past”.

Chastain has been one of the leading supporters of the #TimesUp movement.

The Oscar-nominated actress has not commented on Newton’s decision.

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Jessica Chastain is known for films including Zero Dark Thirty and Interstellar

Newton is also an actor and wrote the script for Eve, which has been described by Variety as a “character-driven action movie”.

In a statement, he 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.

“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.”

A backlash had been mounting after fans and media highlighted past allegations against him.

In 2007 he was convicted of assaulting actress Brooke Satchwell, but the conviction was overturned when the judge accepted Newton had suffered a “severe depressive disorder”.

Three years later, he was given a two-year apprehended domestic violence order after his girlfriend, actress Rachael Taylor, accused him of two assaults.

The following year he was accused of breaching the order and was told to remain under psychiatric care.

Newton’s previous films include last year’s Who We Are Now, starring Julianne Nicholson and Zachary Quinto.

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News credit : Bbc