While promoting Wonder Wheel, Kate Winslet has had to answer a lot of questions about Woody Allen. She’s been vocal in her adulation, and these recent comments to the Sydney Morning Herald, in particular, caught quite a bit of attention today.
“I think on some level Woody is a woman,” Winslet jokes as she ponders the question of just how the filmmaker continually creates such memorable female characters. “I just think he’s very in touch with that side of himself. He understands the female characters he creates exceptionally well,” she adds on a more serious note. “His female characters are always so rich and large and honest in terms of how they’re feeling and he just knows how to write dialogue for them to communicate all that.”
The idea of Allen as this empowering hero to women is a common one among actresses who work with him. Blake Lively made similar statements last year after working with the director on Café Society.
It’s this kind of fawning praise Dylan Farrow, Allen’s daughter, wrote about in a scathing editorial for the Los Angeles Times today, calling out women like Winslet, Lively and Greta Gerwig, who appeared in Allen’s To Rome With Love and also chose the path of “it’s all very difficult to talk about” and electing not to try, but who were all effusive in support of those who came forward with allegations against Harvey Weinstein and the subsequent professional consequences he’s faced as a result
Farrow maintains that Allen sexually assaulted her when she was seven. In 2014, she penned an open letter in the New York Times describing the abuse and lifetime of gaslighting and judgment she and her mother, Mia Farrow, have faced.
Winslet in particular has been public with her feelings regarding Weinstein, noting her deliberate choice not to thank him when she won her Oscar for The Reader, and saying this of the producing behemoth and those who spoke out against him:
“This kind of treatment of any workplace is utterly unacceptable. And hopefully what will happen is that more women will feel compelled to come forward — these women are victims of crime by a man who was always impossible to deal with. I hope that Harvey Weinstein absolutely is punished within the fullest extent of the law should that be the case.”
When asked about abuse allegations against Allen by the New York Times in September, however, Winslet responded with a statement that almost instantly caught fire on social media:
“Of course one thinks about it. But at the same time, I didn’t know Woody and I don’t know anything about that family. As the actor in the film, you just have to step away and say, I don’t know anything, really, and whether any of it is true or false. Having thought it all through, you put it to one side and just work with the person. Woody Allen is an incredible director. So is Roman Polanski. I had an extraordinary working experience with both of those men, and that’s the truth.”
Polanski, for those unaware, was arrested in 1977 for drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl. Facing conviction, he fled to France and has never returned to the United States.
As Hollywood bad man after Hollywood bad man at long lasts faces some form of consequence for his actions — even if that consequence is only to his wallet and public image — the stories being ignored are made more vivid. And that’s certainly the case with Allen, especially for Dylan Farrow.
Although the culture seems to be shifting rapidly, my allegation is apparently still just too complicated, too difficult, too “dangerous,” to use Lively’s term, to confront.
The truth is hard to deny but easy to ignore. It breaks my heart when women and men I admire work with Allen, then refuse to answer questions about it. It meant the world to me when Ellen Page said she regretted working with Allen, and when actresses Jessica Chastain and Susan Sarandon told the world why they never would.