USA TODAY International Edition
‘ Allen v. Farrow’ digs into alleged abuse
HBO series goes beyond rehash of Woody Allen accusations.
A new docuseries, “Allen v. Farrow,” puts the spotlight once more on writer Dylan Farrow’s accusation of sexual assault at the hands of her adoptive father, filmmaker Woody Allen. Yet the four- part HBO project, which premiered Sunday, goes beyond rehashing the nearly three- decades- old incident, providing viewers with new evidence including the first look at the long- discussed footage of Dylan, at age 7, recounting the alleged abuse.
“Allen v. Farrow” also features audiotapes of phone conversations between Farrow and Allen, her partner of 12 years, and interviews with Farrow family members, including Dylan, Mia and son Ronan. Family friends of Mia, including singer Carly Simon, highlight what they see as Allen’s flaws.
Kirby Dick, who directed the project with Amy Ziering, says that going in, he was unsure of Allen’s innocence or guilt.
“I didn’t really have an opinion on it, per se, until we started digging into this and finding all this information that had never gone public,” he says, “because Woody Allen’s spin machine was so successful in confusing the
public and confusing me. That’s one of the things that I think this series does, is it really gives you a much deeper understanding of what really happened and how so much of it was covered up.”
The four- time Oscar winning “Annie Hall” director and his wife, SoonYi Previn, whom Mia adopted with exhusband André Previn, did not respond to interview requests for the docuseries, the filmmakers say. Moses, Allen’s adopted son with Mia, says his father is innocent and declined to participate but is seen in archival home- movie footage shot by Mia. Allen’s voice is heard in the do
cuseries from the audiobook version of his 2020 memoir “Apropos of Nothing.”
“Allen v. Farrow” was cloaked in secrecy.
“We’re very, very careful whenever we do something like this to keep it very close to the vest so that we can do the exploring we need to unimpeded,” Ziering says. The docuseries was dubbed “The Eliza Project,” referring to a name once used by Dylan.
Allen repeatedly has denied Dylan’s allegations that he assaulted her in the summer of 1992 in the attic of Farrow’s Connecticut home, and has been defended by famous pals including Diane Keaton, Alec Baldwin and Scarlett Johansson, all of whom appeared in his movies.
Allen wrote in a 2014 essay for The New York Times that he believes Dylan was used by Mia “as a pawn for revenge” after she felt scorned. Although they had always lived apart, their romance ended in early 1992 when she discovered his collection of sexual pictures of Soon- Yi, then in college.
That summer, Dylan alleges, Allen assaulted her. ( John Burnham, Allen’s longtime agent, didn’t respond to a request for comment on the documentary.)
An interview with Dylan and investigative work by producer Amy Herdy convinced the directors there was more the public needed to know about the story.
“I’m in my late 50s,” Ziering says, “So in the ’ 90s, when this came out, I was sort of the prime demographic for being very susceptible to what the dominant narrative of the time was. I had, you know, a very different opinion going into this than I did coming out.”
Ziering says Dylan and Mia weren’t eager to participate in the docuseries. It took one month for a “cautious” Dylan to agree to be interviewed, they said, and 10 months to convince Mia.
“Because there’s only been one narrative, really, that resounded in the press up until 2014 – without any kind of perforation or complications – they did not feel that anyone who looked into their story was really going to deal with it fairly and honestly and with integrity,” Ziering says. “They were reluctant and anxious throughout, and Mia only finally agreed after multiple requests because Dylan asked her to. Dylan said, ‘ Look, I think if we don’t speak then, no one will ever know the truth.’ ”
Despite the claims and scrutiny over the past three decades, Allen has never been charged with any crimes. In 1993, Connecticut state attorney Frank Maco decided against prosecuting Allen, saying that although he had probable cause, he did not wish to inflict any further anguish on Dylan by making her testify. Now, Dylan, 35, is seizing her moment.
She says in the first episode that Allen gave her “intense affection, all the time.”
“I was always in his clutches,” she says. “He was always hunting me.”
Dylan says she remembers Allen cuddling her in bed, while they were both in their underwear and how he told her to suck his thumb.
Thinking of her younger self motivates her to speak now.
“I wish that I had been stronger,” she says in Sunday’s premiere, “that I hadn’t crumpled so much under the pressure, and I need to, in a way, prove to myself that I can face it, which is probably why I feel so strongly about coming forward now.”
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ACROSS 1 Good smell
6 Aloo ___ ( potato and cauliflower dish) 10 Unwitting tool 14 Not urban 15 Neighbor of Yemen 16 Repeating sound effect 17 Unmoving 18 Comedy routine parts
20 “If I’m being honest . . .” 23 Regret
24 Kite part
25 Tom Hanks title role 30 Comprehend 33 An adequate amount 34 Crunched muscles
36 “I love you,” in Spanish 37 Vienna’s country ( Abbr.)
38 Hint of color 39 BMW competitor 40 Flat- faced dog breed 41 Bachelor’s, e. g. 42 Records with a speed of 33 1/ 3 rpm 43 Predecessors 45 ___ d’Ivoire
46 Hit “+” on a calculator
47 “Oh, give me a break!” 54 Instrument that represents the duck in “Peter and the Wolf” 55 Audacious 56 Sheep sound 58 A reduced amount 59 Stitch’s movie pal 60 Houston baseball player 61 Henna, etc. 62 History class units 63 Rule the ___
1 Phoenix’s state, on scoreboards 2 Smallest in a litter 3 Cookie with a 2020 rainbow edition
4 Gas station store 5 Ms. Marvel, for Kamala Khan 6 Chalice
7 Not mention 8 They may have claw feet 9 Pants length measurements 10 Gem made in an oyster 11 Reproductive Freedom Project org.
12 First word of many “Jeopardy!” responses
21 Like some vegetation 22 Word after “pro” or “hot”
25 In the ___ position 26 Outdo 27 Places for medians 28 Thirteenthcentury Persian poet 29 Device in a cockpit 30 Music category 31 Raring to go 32 Plants with rings
35 Use BASL 37 French farewell 38 Slings drinks 40 Safe to drink 41 Milk ___
( caramel candies) 43 Enemy
44 Total strangers 45 Nona Gaprindashvili’s game 47 Give in 48 Follow the rules 49 Got higher 50 Jazz singer Fitzgerald
51 To boot 52 High- fat, low- carb diet
53 Maize units 57 Tater ___