On Monday, Timothée Chalamet, the lead of A Rainy Day in New York, announced that he’d be donating his salary from the film to charity. “I am learning that a good role isn’t the only criteria for accepting a job,” he said. His decision came after several other stars apologized in recent months for working with Allen, including Greta Gerwig, Ellen Page, Rebecca Hall, and Mira Sorvino; Sorvino wrote a letter of apology to Dylan Farrow. In addition, three actors who worked on A Rainy Day in New York (and one who worked on Wonder Wheel) have expressed their regret for participating; others may follow. In a relatively short span of time, Hollywood has dramatically reassessed how it treats sexual-assault and abuse allegations against influential men in the industry. It seemed it was only a matter of time before the focus turned back to Allen.
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The controversy around the director came in two major waves of bad publicity—one in the early ’90s and one in 2014, both of which he managed to weather. A hugely popular stand-up comedian who transitioned to filmmaking, Allen won his first Oscar for Annie Hall in 1978 and began dating the actress Mia Farrow in 1980, a relationship that lasted until 1992 (though the pair never married). They made 13 movies together and had three children: Moses and Dylan, both of whom Farrow had previously adopted and whom Allen adopted in 1991, and Satchel (now known as Ronan), born in 1987.
In 1992, Farrow discovered photographic evidence of an affair between Allen and her adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, who was a college sophomore at the time (Allen was 56). During the resulting custody battle over Allen and Farrow’s three children, the Connecticut State Police investigated a report by 7-year-old Dylan that her father had molested her; Allen denied the charge and said it was engineered by his ex as part of the custody fight. The legal back-and-forth was heavily covered in the press, including a long Vanity Fair profile of Mia Farrow that accused Allen of years of inappropriate behavior with Dylan.
Mia Farrow won the custody battle, but Dylan’s accusations lingered. Allen’s attorneys claimed she had been examined by investigators who found no sign of abuse, though their report was kept sealed. A Connecticut state’s attorney said he had probable cause to charge Allen, but would not because of the further damage it could cause Dylan; he was later reprimanded for this statement. Through it all, Allen kept making movies, many of them (particularly 1992’s Husbands and Wives) obliquely grappling with his public admission of infidelity. He married Previn in 1997.
Allen’s films are rarely blockbusters, but they almost always feature big-name actors, and are often partly funded by European investors. His prestige as an award-winner has granted him the clout needed to attract major stars well into the 21st century—the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman, Ewan McGregor, Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Owen Wilson, Colin Firth, Kate Winslet, and many, many others. Attaching a popular actor to your movie is one of the easiest ways to get funded, and as a result, Allen has maintained his prodigious pace.