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Male stars at Berlin film festival say #MeToo movement is making them think

By Hanna Rantala

BERLIN (Reuters) - Male stars attending the Berlin film festival on Thursday told Reuters they were reassessing their own behavior in light of the #MeToo movement by women against sexual harassment and abuse.

Actor Bob Balaban whose voice featured in the opening movie of the Berlinale - Wes Anderson's "Isle of Dogs" - told Reuters he was starting to think more about his own actions, such as when fans asked him for photographs with them.

"I think about things differently," he said.

"When somebody says: 'let's take a selfie!', do you go like that or do you stand there like this because you're thinking about it," he said as he made a hugging gesture, then pulled his arm back.

Dozens of powerful men in the film industry, politics, entertainment and business have been fired or resigned in the face of allegations they abused their power.

Actor Bryan Cranston, best known for his role in the "Breaking Bad" series, said he was optimistic that the #MeToo movement would result in people being more respectful.

"I'm very hopeful and pleased that anytime there is someone who was exposed to be an aggressor or who is behaving abhorrently is brought down because that kind of institutionalized misogyny needs to come to an end," he said.

Cranston said he had no problem apologizing to people if he had said anything that might be offensive.

"But yes it does make me think of how have I been. Have I been contributing to this in some way? When I hear of someone behaving badly have I tried to just calm it down? Now I feel like: no, let's get to the root of that and get that person out."

Actor Jeff Goldblum, who starred in the "Jurassic Park" movies, said he was seeking to make sure that "every encounter and relationship I have is founded in maximum respect and sensitivity".

Organizers of the Berlinale turned down a call to have movie stars walk a black, rather than red, carpet as a symbol of support for the campaign against sexual harassment, but are hosting discussion events.

Most of the stars wore black for the opening night of the Berlinale and festival director Dieter Kosslick eschewed his usual red scarf to show his support for victims.

"I think a festival like ours should show solidarity with this movement and with these people," he said on the red carpet.

"We have a lot of discussion in the world and we have a lot of discussion at the Berlinale in the next week and tonight I thought a black scarf would say maybe more than a red one."

The Berlinale, where around 400 films are being screened, runs until Feb. 25.

(Reporting by Hanna Rantala; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Andrew Roche)