Scarlett Johansson, Diane Keaton and Other A-Listers on Why They Continue to Work With Woody Allen
Hollywood addresses their own decisions to work (or not) with the 'Cafe Society' director.
All eyes are on Woody Allen once again.
His newest film, Cafe Society, starring Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, Steve Carell and Blake Lively, opened at Cannes this week. The cast has so far largely avoided addressing sexual-abuse allegations made against the director by his daughter, Dylan Farrow.
Prompting the renewed spotlight on the claims was Allen's son, Ronan Farrow, who wrote a Hollywood Reporter guest column addressing media and industry reluctance to talk about the topic.
"Being in the media as my sister's story made headlines, and Woody Allen's PR engine revved into action, gave me a window into just how potent the pressure can be to take the easy way out," wrote Farrow.
Stars of Allen's films have been asked about the allegations throughout the years, and many have defended their choice to work with him, often stating that the abuse claims are unproven or a family issue. But some actors have made it clear that they choose not to work with Allen because of the damning allegations against him.
A look at industry comments on the controversy:
Kristen Stewart: The Cafe Society actress briefly touched on the decision to work with Allen at a Cannes press event this week with co-star Eisenberg, saying that the abuse allegations are only allegations, and that she doesn't want to judge an artist for what other people say about him. "We don't know any of these people involved," she told Variety. "I can personalize situations, which would be very wrong."
Diane Keaton: After Dylan Farrow called out Allen's stars in 2014, including Annie Hall's Keaton, in The New York Times ("You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton. Have you forgotten me?"), Keaton responded in an interview with The Guardian, saying simply, "I believe my friend."
Wallace Shawn: The Manhattan actor wrote a piece for the Los Angeles Times in February 2014 defending Allen: "I personally would have to say that it would take overwhelming evidence to convince me that he had sexually abused a child, just as it would take overwhelming evidence to convince me that Desmond Tutu, Franklin D. Roosevelt or Doris Lessing had sexually abused a child." He concluded: "Obviously if he did not in fact commit the crime, this is an appalling situation."
Scarlett Johansson: The Match Point star, who was also included in the list of actresses mentioned by Farrow in The New York Times article, distanced herself from Allen's past, telling The Guardian in March 2014 that "It's not like this is somebody that's been prosecuted and found guilty of something, and you can then go, 'I don't support this lifestyle or whatever.' I mean, it's all guesswork." She added, "It would be ridiculous for me to make any kind of assumption one way or the other."
Cate Blanchett: Promoting Blue Jasmine at the Santa Barbara Film Festival in 2014, Blanchett didn't want to address the accusations against Allen, saying that it's a family ordeal. "It's obviously been a long and painful situation for the family," said Blanchett, "and I hope they find some sort of resolution and peace."
Alec Baldwin: In the midst of promoting Blue Jasmine with co-star Blanchett, Baldwin tweeted a series of comments that distanced himself as an actor from what he saw as a family conflict. "What the f&@% is wrong w u that u think we all need to b commenting on this family's personal struggle?" he wrote. "So you know who's guilty? Who's lying? You, personally, know that?" he continued, adding: "You are mistaken if you think there is a place for me, or any outsider, in this family's issue."
Mariel Hemingway: In 2015, the actress revealed in her memoir, Out Came the Sun, that after filming Manhattan, her first role in a Woody Allen film, Allen flew out to her parents' house in Idaho and began pressing her to travel to Paris with him (when she was only 18 years old). "Our relationship was platonic, but I started to see that he had a kind of crush on me, though I dismissed it as the kind of thing that seemed to happen any time middle-aged men got around young women," she wrote. Hemingway ended up refusing to go on the trip with the director, and Allen left town the next morning.
Lena Dunham: The Girls actress told Marc Maron in a 2015 episode of his WTF podcast that she is "decidedly pro-Dylan Farrow and decidedly disgusted with Woody Allen's behavior," though she also didn't want to judge his films based on her opinion of him ("I'm not going to indict the work"). "But for me, when people go through his work and comb through it for references to child molestation, that's not the f—ing point."
Sarah Silverman: The actress-comedian tweeted out a link to Ronan Farrow's piece on Wednesday, commenting that she believed Dylan and Ronan's account: "My comedy hero Woody Allen, and his untouchable PR machine and our not wanting it to be true. But it is."
My comedy hero Woody Allen, and his untouchable PR machine and our not wanting it to be true. But it is. https://t.co/L7cdnkOuJs— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) May 11, 2016