Matthew Newton has resigned as the director of the upcoming film Eve, an action movie starring Jessica Chastain. Newton’s resignation comes just a week after the film, which he also wrote, was announced. The social media backlash decrying Newton’s role in the project stemmed from his history with domestic violence.
In 2007, the Aussie pled guilty to one count of common assault against his girlfriend at the time, actress Brooke Satchwell. In 2010, Newton was accused by his then-girlfriend Rachael Taylor of punching her in the face multiple times before having to be sedated by emergency responders. Reports indicated Taylor suffered from a concussion and sprained jaw following the incident in a Rome hotel room.
Newton, 41, released a statement announcing his resignation from the project:
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.
Here’s what you need to know about Matthew Newton:
1. Matthew Newton Stepped Down From ‘Eve’ Following Backlash Over His History With Domestic Violence
Newton’s resignation from directing the Jessica Chastain-starring Eve comes a week after Chastain announced the film would be developed with her Freckle Films production company alongside Voltage Pictures.
The social media response to Chastain’s choice of director was swift, in large part due to her prominent role in the Time’s Up campaign and #MeToo movement.
2. Two of Newton’s Ex-Girlfriends Have Accused Him of Domestic Violence
After Newton and Satchwell broke up in 2006, Satchwell accused him of assault. Newton was arrested and charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and intimidation on October 16, 2006.
Newton denied Satchwell’s version of events and pleaded not guilty. In May 2007, Newton pled guilty to one count of common assault. In exchange for his plea, police dropped charges for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, stalking, and intimidation.
A judge sentenced Newton to a one-year good behavior bond, essentially probation. Two months later, his conviction was overturned due to his psychiatrist’s belief that Newton would not be likely to commit a crime of this nature again and because of Newton’s underlying mental illness.
Three years later, in August 2010, Australian actress Rachael Taylor accused Newton of two separate incidents of domestic assault in a Rome hotel room. Taylor alleged that Newton punched her in the face multiple times. Newton, who was under the influence of alcohol, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana at the time of the attack, needed to be sedated by first responders. Taylor filed an Apprehended Violence Order against Newton following the incidents. She alleged that the abuse, both physical and verbal, went on for a whole year.
In 2011, Newton was charged with two counts of assault for allegedly assaulting a 66-year-old cab driver in Crows Nest , Australia.
3. Newton has Bi-Polar Disorder & a History of Substance Abuse
In the span of 10 days in April 2012, Newton was arrested twice in Miami. First, he was charged with trespassing and resisting arrest, then he was booked on charges of battery and resisting arrest following a claim that he assaulted a hotel receptionist.
Newton checked into Betty Ford Center, a high-end California rehab facility for drug and alcohol addiction. He remained under the facility’s care for 90 days. Following his departure, the charges were dismissed and Newton was ordered to complete 50 hours of community service along with a written apology to the hotel clerk and monetary damages.
In 2011, Newton revealed that he had spent much of the last year being treated for mental health issues. He was required to do so following the incident with Taylor.
Newton told the Sydney Morning Herald that he was a “walking time bomb” when he went in for treatment. He claimed to be suicidal, and had been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress.
He said that while being treated at Northside West Clinic in Sydney, he had a nervous breakdown that included punching walls and throwing himself at floors. He went as far as to punch through a glass window, causing injuries that necessitated surgery.
“I’ve done all of those things and I utterly regret it,” Newton said, referring to the allegations of domestic violence. “It is intolerable to harm women, it is intolerable to harm your best friends and it is intolerable to harm yourself.”
He said he was “very grateful” for those around him who compelled him to receive treatment for his issues.
Since leaving Betty Ford in 2012, Newton has seemingly remained out of trouble.
4. Up Until Now, Newton’s Troubled Past Hasn’t Derailed His Movie Career
Newton has enjoyed a relatively successful career in show business despite his numerous run ins with the law.
Just last year, he directed Who We Are Now, an indie drama starring Julianne Nicholson, Emma Roberts, and Zachary Quinto. The film debuted at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and was picked up for distribution by FilmRise shortly thereafter.
SXSW Film Festval debuted Who We Are Now in the U.S. In response to backlash, SXSW Film head Janet Pierson said, “We believe that Matthew Newton’s new film is a reflection of the changes that he’s made in his life.”
In 2016, Newton directed, co-wrote, and co-produced From Nowhere, another drama starring Nicholson, as well as Denis O’Hare and J. Mallory McCree.
And in 2014, Newton played the part of Aidan in The Sideways Light, a mystery film that debuted at the Austin Film Festival.
5. Newton Comes From a Famous Family
Both of Newton’s parents are famous in Australia. His father, Bert Newton, is a renowned media personality who has won awards for television, theater, and radio presentations. His mother, Patti Newton, has worked as a singer, dancer, TV presenter, and stage performer.
Matthew Newton was most recently engaged to Catherine Schneiderman, the daughter of disgraced former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who resigned following widespread allegations of domestic assault.