From Harvey Weinstein to Dylan Farrow: 5 main talking points from Woody Allen’s controversial new memoir
Woody Allen has this week discreetly published his memoirs, Apropos Of Nothing.
The autobiography, which has been released through Arcade Publishing following Hatchette Book Group deciding to pull the plug on the release, arrives as a controversial self-told story of the director’s career and personal life.
The 400-page memoir was originally due to be released by Grand Central Publishing, a subsidiary of Hatchette Book Group. However, in early March they announced their decision to drop Allen after their staff walked out in protest. The resulting fallout saw the publisher returning all of the rights to back the 84-year-old.
“The decision to cancel Mr. Allen’s book was a difficult one,” senior vice president of communications Sophie Cottrell said in a statement. “At HBG we take our relationships with authors very seriously, and do not cancel books lightly. We have published and will continue to publish many challenging books. As publishers, we make sure every day in our work that different voices and conflicting points of views can be heard.
“Also, as a company, we are committed to offering a stimulating, supportive and open work environment for all our staff,” Cottrell added. “Over the past few days, HBG leadership had extensive conversations with our staff and others. After listening, we came to the conclusion that moving forward with publication would not be feasible for HBG.”
Woody Allen sets out to tell his side of the story in his memoir, the book being described as “a comprehensive account of his life, both personal and professional and describes his work in films, theatre, television, nightclubs and print,” a past statement revealed, before adding: “Allen also writes of his relationships with family, friends and the loves of his life.”
Given its somewhat silent release, we have delved into the book so you don’t have to and have found the key points that the director makes as he attempts to set the record straight.
Woody Allen denies sexually abusing adopted daughter Dylan Farrow:
When actress Mia Farrow and Woody Allen became a couple in 1980, Allen took responsibility for the children which the actress had adopted which included Moses Farrow and Dylan Farrow. Following Allen’s split from Farrow, he continued to visit the children at her home in Connecticut. However, one particular day in 1992 accusations began to swirl when the family’s babysitter, Kristie Groteke, who was caring for children at the time, said she saw the director rest his head on seven-year-old Dylan Farrow’s lap with his face in her lap turned toward Dylan’s body.
When Mia Farrow returned home and asked her daughter about this, she allegedly told her mother that she “did not like it” and then claimed that Allen had touched her “private parts”. This resulted in a six-month investigation by the Child Sexual Abuse Clinic at Yale-New Haven Hospital that concluded Allen did not abuse Dylan.
Allen, who has passionately denied the allegations for years, addressed the topic as part of the new memoir. He said: “While Mia had gone shopping, after explaining to everyone that I had to be watched carefully, all the kids and the babysitters were in the den watching TV, a room full of people.
“There were no seats for me, so I sat on the floor and might have leaned my head back on the sofa on Dylan’s lap for a moment. I certainly didn’t do anything improper to her.”
His thoughts on Dylan Farrow now:
The 84-year-old only remains in contact with one of the three children he shared with Mia Farrow which is his adoptive son; Moses. While Dylan and her brother Ronan refuse to have any contact with the director, Allen confesses that he harbours sadness at not having been able to be a part of her life.
Allen writes: “One of the saddest things of my life was that I was deprived of the years of raising Dylan and could only dream about showing her Manhattan and the joys of Paris and Rome.
“To this day, Soon-Yi and I would welcome Dylan with open arms if she’d ever want to reach out to us as Moses (Farrow) did, but so far that’s still only a dream.”
To this day Dylan Farrow still stands by the accusations she made as a child.
On Soon-Yi Previn and the naked photographs:
Two years before Mia Farrow and Woody Allen were a couple, the actress adopted an eight-year-old South Korean child named Soon-Yi Previn along with her partner at the time, Andre Previn.
However, in 1992, after being in relationship with Allen for ten years, she discovered naked photographs of her adoptive daughter in Allen’s home and, when confronted, the director confessed to having started a sexual relationship with Previn which led to Farrow ending their relationship. Soon-Yi was 22-years-old at the time her affair with 56-year-old Allen was revealed and Allen later admitted that he had held a ‘paternal’ role of Soon-Yi for a decade.
Allen and Soon-Yi Previn remained a couple amid the fall-out and have been married since 1997. Read Allen’s staunch defence of the photographs, below.
“At the very early stages of our new relationship, when lust reigns supreme and we couldn’t keep our hands off each other, the idea arose that we do some erotic photographs if I could figure out how to work the goddamned camera,” Allen writes. “Turned out she could work it, and erotic photos they were, shots well calculated to boost one’s blood up to two twelve Fahrenheit. Anyhow, you probably read the rest in the tabloids.”
Allen on writing roles for women
Allen has faced his fair share of criticism over his failure to write strong female roles within his work over the years. However, addressing the topic, Allen again launches into another denial in the book. The film-maker suggests that, on the contrary, he is proud of his record of writing roles for women before caveating it by saying “for a guy someone who has taken his heat from #MeToo zealots”.
He writes: “I’ve written many parts for women including some reasonably juicy ones. Actually, for a guy who’s taken his share of heat from #MeToo zealots, my record with the opposite sex is not bad at all.”
His relationship with Harvey Weinstein
The filmmaker reflects in his memoirs about his relationship with disgraced former Hollywood mogul—and now convicted rapist—Harvey Weinstein, offering up his opinion on why he could never have worked side-by-side with Weinstein on a film. Allen’s latest comments on Weinstein come just a couple of years after he was under-fire for labelling him a “sad, sick man”.
Allen writes: “Despite what was printed in the newspapers, Harvey never produced any movies of mine. Never backed me. He only distributed a few already completed films and distributed them well. In addition to Harvey’s skill at distributing, he had an eye for offbeat, artsy movies and presented a number of them.
“Still, I would never have allowed Harvey to back or produce a film of mine because he was a hands-on producer who changed and recut a director’s movie. We never could have worked together.”