The Careers of Woody Allen's Leading Men After Starring In His Films — What Controversy?
Getting cast in a movie by one of the most prolific American directors should be a big step in an actor's career, but this latest casting news feels more disappointing to me than anything else. Kristen Stewart was just cast in Woody Allen's yet-to-be-titled film, but working with the infamous director is a move I really wish she didn't choose to make. Critics of Allen frequently comment on his marriage to Soon-Yi, the adopted daughter of his former partner Mia Farrow, as evidence of morally dubious behavior, but it was the recent accusation of sexual abuse by his daughter Dylan Farrow that seemed to confirm what many people suspected about the director. And yet, as we all know, nothing happened to Allen's career — his films continued moving forward in production and Hollywood all but defended him. Now that he's casted one of the biggest names in young Hollywood, it's all but proof that his personal life means nothing to the industry.
It makes me angry that Stewart (who herself played a rape survivor in the 2004 film Speak) could ignore the accusations made against Allen and participate in his work, though she's hardly the first actress to do so. Emma Stone appeared in his latest film Magic in the Moonlight and will appear in the upcoming Irrational Man. Stone received some criticism for choosing to work with Allen following the accusations, but what of the male actors who work with the director? Has their career improved after working with Allen? And how did their relationship with his work after the abuse scandal came to light in 2014? Here are the last 3 actors who worked with Allen, and what happened to their careers.
Woody Allen Films: Blue Jasmine (2013), To Rome With Love (2012)
Baldwin appeared in two Allen films prior to sexual abuse accusation, and made it clear that he was happy to be offered the part at an event at the New York Philharmonic, stating: "“When Woody called to offer me a part in a film, I cried. When I found out how much money they were going to pay me, I cried again.” Baldwin certainly hasn't been hurt by his association with Allen — he recently appeared in Oscar darling Still Alice and has several films currently in the works.
But he the notoriously hot-headed Baldwin wasn't quiet after the sexual abuse scandal came to light, tweeting (and later deleting) the following: "What the f&@% is wrong w u that u think we all need to b commenting on this family’s personal struggle? So you know who’s guilty? Who’s lying? You, personally, know that? You are mistaken if you think there is a place for me, or any outsider, in this family’s issue." Baldwin may be on Allen's side, but that hasn't hurt his career in the slightest.
Woody Allen Films: Untitled Film (2015), To Rome With Love (2012)
Eisenberg may not be as beloved in Hollywood as he was when he launched his career, but he still churns out movies with the best of them despite the hit his public persona has taken recently. Eisenberg was criticized for his incredibly rude interview with Univision News in 2013, which is exactly the sort of thing you might expect from someone who played Mark Zuckerberg just a little too perfectly. His public persona aside, Eisenberg continues getting work — he'll star in Batman v. Superman as Lex Luther out later this year. Eisenberg has yet to respond to the accusations made against Allen, though he did say in 2013 that Allen is his "favorite director of all time."
Woody Allen Films: Magic in the Moonlight (2014)
While stars like Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin seemed almost obligated to make a statement on the scandal, Firth has remained surprisingly tight-lipped, despite the fact that his Allen film came out more recently than Blue Jasmine. Perhaps that's because the actor isn't even asked about the scandal. In a 2014 interview with NPR (the transcript of which was published online) Firth responded in detail about the director's process but nothing (at least, that we know of) about the abuse accusations, despite the fact that the subject was a major news headline at the time of the interview. Firth, who scored the Best Actor for The King's Speech, recently appeared in films like Before I Go To Sleep, Devil's Knot, and Kingsman: The Secret Service.
What we can conclude from these actor's careers? All but Baldwin have stayed silent on the subject of the Allen abuse scandal, and all three have praised the director without questioning the case. Working with the director appears to be a sort of "right of passage" for actors of a certain caliber, and questioning his personal life is almost out of the question for these men who have had a successful film career in part because of Allen's casting decisions. I'd love to put more blame on these men as individuals for their silence either way, but unfortunately it doesn't seem like their the only ones turning a blind eye to the accusations. We may never know what really happened with Allen and his daughter, but I'm disappointed by the blind faith these actors seem to put in the hands of their director.
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