Jennifer Esposito Recalls ‘Notorious, Brutal’ Producer Who Tried to Kill Her Career 25 Years Ago

Jennifer Esposito, who just made her feature film directorial debut with the mob movie “Fresh Kills,” revealed that a “notorious, brutal” producer nearly ended her career when she was 26.

“He fired me for no reason,” she said of the unnamed Hollywood heavyweight 26 years after the incident, saying only that he was “Harvey Weinstein-esque.”

The actress/director said on a recent episode of the She Pivots podcast that the producer in question not only fired her from a production around the year 1999, but actively tried to block her from getting any other work in Hollywood.

“He was like, ‘Don’t hire her,’” Esposito said. “He said I was a drug addict, locked myself in the trailer. Never happened. I don’t do drugs. Never did.”

She then told host Emily Tisch Sussman, “He literally had the power and he used it to completely end a young girl’s career at 26 years old.” The actress said she was later dropped by her agency and couldn’t find work. “I didn’t have an agent and a manager for two and a half years.”

Esposito, whose TV credits include “The Boys,” “Blue Bloods,” “Awkwafina Is From Queens,” “NCIS” and “The Affair,” said it was a “really, really painful time… that kid who was waiting tables, and a kid who had this dream since she was a baby — he literally, he took it, because he could, and killed it.”

However, she did say that without the career setback, she would probably never have written and directed her first film.

Jennifer Esposito (center) in "Fresh Kills"
Jennifer Esposito (center) in “Fresh Kills” (CREDIT: Quiver Distribution)

“I know for a fact that if that didn’t happen with that producer and my road had been easier, I would have never written and directed what I just did,” she explained. “Because, as I’ve said to a few people that know me well, ‘Fresh Kills’ the film was for the 26-year-old kid who got slaughtered.”

The movie, which is now playing in select theaters, is set in 1980s New York. It costars “The Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra, one of the women whose career was derailed by disgraced former producer Harvey Weinstein.

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