Allen v Farrow Episode 1 HBO: Dylan Farrow, Mia Farrow, Woody Allen

In “Allen v. Farrow,” the four-part docuseries that premiered on HBO Sunday night time, documentarians Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering and Amy Herdy have tackled an particularly daunting and divisive topic, even for them. The filmmakers behind the documentaries “The Hunting Ground,” “The Invisible War” and “On the Record,” have investigated Dylan Farrow’s 1992 allegations that her father, Woody Allen, sexually abused her when she was 7 years old.

Dylan Farrow’s harrowing accusations performed out in court docket through the lead-up to the vicious custody battle between Allen and his ex-partner Mia Farrow— and on daily basis, they had been additionally splashed on the pages of the New York Post. Simultaneously, Allen’s then-newly revealed sexual relationship with Soon-Yi Previn, Farrow’s older daughter, ensured the tabloid press was absolutely engaged, one thing Allen weaponized towards Mia Farrow, whom he painted as a manipulative hysteric. In “Allen v. Farrow,” she talks on digicam for the primary time about what she went by means of.

In the aftermath of the custody battle, which Mia Farrow received (to say the least), the allegations towards Allen had been typically willfully forgotten. His singular profession as a writer-director continued unabated, with a parade of A-list actors — from Cate Blanchett to Penelope Cruz — signing as much as star in his motion pictures, and infrequently being rewarded by the Academy for it. In 2014, Dylan Farrow reasserted her claims in an open letter revealed on Nicholas Kristof’s New York Times weblog, calling out those that labored with him in private, direct phrases. But once more, individuals continued to do enterprise with Allen— till the #MeToo motion of 2017, spurred partially by Ronan Farrow’s New Yorker investigation into Harvey Weinstein’s crimes, as soon as once more revived Dylan’s story (which hasn’t modified since she informed her mom what she says her father did to her almost 30 years in the past). “Wonder Wheel,” Allen’s 2017 providing, was the final of his movies to get a serious theatrical launch within the United States.

“Allen v. Farrow” goals to provide the total image of what occurred between Dylan, Mia and Allen. Ziering, Dick and Herdy use never-before-seen house motion pictures from Mia Farrow that she shot, together with of Dylan at age 7 saying what Allen allegedly did to her. There are additionally audio recordings the general public has by no means heard that Mia made throughout cellphone conversations with Allen because the custody battle loomed (he was taping her too). In addition to Dylan, a number of different of Mia Farrow’s youngsters — Ronan Farrow, and Fletcher and Daisy Previn — additionally gave interviews to “Allen v. Farrow,” as did household buddies and individuals who had labored on the investigation.

Allen, 85, who has at all times angrily denied any wrongdoing towards Dylan, didn’t take part. His aspect is introduced by means of previous interviews; press conferences; the surprisingly intimate house motion pictures wherein he seems (typically uncomfortably hugging and kissing Dylan); and in snippets from his audiobook studying of his 2020 memoir, “Apropos of Nothing.” (A consultant for Allen didn’t reply to Variety’s request for remark, however on Sunday night time, Allen issued an announcement calling “Allen v. Farrow” a “hatchet job riddled with falsehoods.”)

In an interview with Variety, co-directors Ziering and Dick, and Herdy, the docuseries’ investigative producer, delved into the primary episode of “Allen v. Farrow,” and previewed its subsequent episodes. (Spoilers abound, so be warned.)

“It’s a narrative all of us suppose we knew,” Ziering mentioned. “But we did not.”

Can you discuss in regards to the origins of “Allen v. Farrow,” and the way you satisfied Dylan Farrow— after which the remainder of the Farrows — to take part?

Amy Ziering: Projects discover us, we do not precisely discover initiatives, per se. We had been casting a large web, speaking to ladies within the wake of #MeToo, and we thought we would do some form of sequence and there is perhaps a Hollywood portion. And Amy Herdy was like, “Maybe for the Hollywood portion, we must always interview Dylan Farrow.” Amy managed to have Dylan agree. At that time, we weren’t making this challenge, however that is initially how we fell upon the interview with Dylan.

Kirby and I, and Amy, had been like, “There’s so far more right here that none of us knew about. And how is it that none of us knew about it?” And that piqued our curiosity, however it actually piqued Amy’s curiosity. And as Amy dug and dug and dug, she got here up discovering all this new materials, and bringing it to us.

How did you pivot to figuring out you had been going to do a documentary about this particular factor?

Kirby Dick: Information about proof began coming, and this began making us understand there’s a lot of this story that hasn’t been informed. That mixed with the private story that Dylan had informed — not solely what occurred when she was little, but additionally how she needed to reside with having the tradition in some ways denying her story. We realized we had an epic story on our arms.

At what level did you uncover the trove of archival issues that Mia Farrow had?

Amy Herdy: I first began having conversations with Dylan in February of 2018. That fall was once I was first launched to Mia. I spent loads of time rummaging by means of her home. She was very well mannered, and mentioned, “Feel free to go searching. I’m not going to do an interview, ever!” She had bookshelves in every single place, not simply lined with books, but additionally with these house motion pictures and picture albums. Then she casually talked about that there is perhaps some packing containers within the basement, so right down to the basement, I went. There had been only a few disparate court docket objects, and a few of these had been the audiocassettes.

There had been photocopies of photographs of Woody Allen with the youngsters as they had been rising up that had been entered as an exhibit within the custody trial. I assumed that was fascinating, as a result of he had maintained that he had stored such a distance from them. There was the affidavit of when he adopted Dylan — that adoption went by means of in December of 1991. And there was his affidavit, which is a sworn assertion, testifying that he and Mia had been in an in depth, dedicated and persevering with relationship. A month later, these photographs had been discovered of Soon-Yi — the bare photographs. So that was a seismic disconnect.

Ziering: The old school cassettes, Amy managed to claw again from the jaws of demise, and known as us and mentioned, “Oh, my God! This is Woody and Mia speaking contemporaneous as these occasions had been taking place!” People hear these within the subsequent episodes, and it is fairly jaw-dropping.

They’re surprising. Something else surprising within the first episode was that Woody Allen would make Dylan lie in mattress with him when he was in his underwear, and that Mia and even somebody outdoors the household, Priscilla Gilman, had walked in on that.

Ziering: We talked to some specialists as we had been doing our analysis, and so they had been saying these are traditional grooming patterns. It’s this conduct that proper at first appears unseemly possibly, however possibly OK. But in the event you’re not an knowledgeable on this enviornment, you do not know how you can acknowledge it. And the transgressions are delicate, and so they occur incrementally, which you see in Episode 1 — [Dylan] sucking [Allen’s] thumb. It’s these slight transgressions — of private area, of acceptable conduct — that you just normalize the kid to.

Can you speak about why you felt it obligatory to ascertain that Woody Allen is an iconic filmmaker with all of the speaking heads?

Dick: For a youthful era who hasn’t grown up so utterly along with his work, I feel it was vital to do this. It was additionally, I feel, vital to acknowledge his accomplishments. It’s honest; he has completed an awesome deal. But additionally, to show that how revered and revered he was — by society, by critics, by the trade. It was that respect, that reverence that truly gave him loads of alternative to create the spin that he did afterward.

Ziering: It’s about a lot larger themes: It’s in regards to the energy of movie star, the impunity of privilege. The impunity that the ability of movie star can confer on individuals. The means {that a} movie star grooms all of us, to some extent, to be blind to sure non-public acts that may not accord with what we understand their public persona to be.

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Woody Allen and Mia Farrow on a household trip.
Globe Photos/mediapunch/Shutterstock

Mia says on the finish of the sequence that she’s nonetheless fearful of him, and about what he’ll do as soon as he sees or hears about what’s within the documentary. Have you considered that each for the Farrows’ sake and for the challenge’s?

Herdy: I feel that is knee-jerk PTSD on her half, and understandably so, proper? When you attempt to ask her to call what she fears that he’ll do, it is, “Well, he might do something.”

Dick: He has achieved rather a lot…

Ziering: She’s been by means of rather a lot. She was publicly excoriated for many years — she has rightful trepidation, she has not been handled kindly by the press. It’s been introduced as “he mentioned/she mentioned” the place it is actually only a “he mentioned” narrative time and again and time and again. And she hasn’t had a voice in it. I imply, I’d be scared too if I had been her.

And I actually suppose all of us owe her and Dylan and all of the Farrows and everybody who spoke with us a societal debt. For their braveness and for his or her capacity to beat their fears and say, “You know what? We hope this helps different individuals.”

Ronan is clearly a vastly completed journalist along with his personal monitor report of investigations into sexual assault and lots of different issues. Was he supplying you with any enter alongside the best way from his perspective on the film?

Ziering: No, it is a very unbiased investigation. It was the opposite — identical to Mia, I wish to be completely and patently clear that they had been all extraordinarily trepidatious and never desperate to take part. What helped them overcome that worry and agree extraordinarily reluctantly to giving us a minimal period of time in these interviews was that they felt that we had been truly uncovering issues that had not ever been revealed to the general public.

Herdy: And issues that they did not know. It’s revealed in Episode 1 that Dylan was put into remedy when she was 5 for being shy and unhappy and withdrawn. Which we all know now in 2021 are traditional signs that one thing is happening with that baby that is very, very mistaken. They did not acknowledge it again then.

She disclosed twice to her therapist that she had a secret. And it wasn’t mentioned in a cheerful means. So this was a lady who was clearly troubled. And this was two years earlier than she got here ahead with any form of allegation about him molesting her on the house in Connecticut.

I used to be going to ask you about that. What do you suppose that secret was?

Herdy: I do not wish to assume, as a result of I do not assume something. But if I had been a therapist treating a baby, I feel I’d have pursued it. And I feel I’d have knowledgeable the kid’s mom. She did not inform Mia; Mia did not know.

Ziering: When we talked to specialists, they continuously say that one of many issues predators do is they are saying, “This is our secret.” And that is one of many traditional ways in which predators get youngsters to not discuss, proper? So when Amy uncovered that, which was new info that Dylan had truly gone to a therapist two years earlier than this incident, it’s fairly vital. And revelatory.

Is the implication, then, that he was molesting her already?

Ziering: You ought to draw your personal conclusions. What we confirmed it all through was, as I mentioned earlier, there have been these incremental behaviors: sleeping in mattress with underwear, sucking the thumb. Experts will let you know there’s an incremental transgression of boundaries in order that every part turns into normalized whenever you truly do extra profound violations. But they’re all violations in my ebook.

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Dylan Farrow
Courtesy of HBO

Was there anybody that you just wished to interview who would not discuss?

Herdy: Well, there was anyone that we discovered, and it was too late. And it was a kind of forehead-slapping moments. Allison Stickland: who was the nanny who truly was an eyewitness to conduct between Woody Allen and Dylan, who testified within the custody trial and gave a sworn assertion to police that she walked in and Woody had his face in Dylan’s bare lap.

I despatched a snail mail letter, a really fastidiously worded one, and mentioned, “If you’re Allison Stickland who was a nanny in Connecticut, I’d like to have a dialog with you,” and put my cellphone quantity in it. And apparently, she bought the letter and debated it for a number of weeks. And then she despatched me a textual content message the day after we locked, and mentioned, “Sure, I’ll discuss to you.” And it was excruciatingly painful. But we did discuss to her for a podcast. She’s superb. And she nonetheless remembers every part very vividly.

The sequence makes an argument about motion pictures corresponding to “Manhattan,” drawing a direct line between what Allen was placing on display screen and his alleged off-screen conduct. HBO Max presently has 5 Woody Allen/Mia Farrow collaborations to stream. What do you consider that?

Ziering: We speak about that in Episode 4; we go into depth in regards to the choices individuals need to make about consuming product. It is one thing that many individuals speak about scuffling with. And that is additionally why we would like individuals to suppose and mirror on that.

I feel there’s loads of artwork on the market with difficult biographical backgrounds. We invite individuals to make their very own choices.

What would you like viewers to be fascinated with after they’ve watched all 4 episodes? What would you like individuals to remove from it?

Ziering: It’s in regards to the energy that movie star confers on people, and the best way that it could blind us all to uncomfortable truths.

It’s additionally an actual and intense meditation and reflection on incest, which was one of many the explanation why to do that challenge — it’s the third rail. Now #MeToo has occurred, however it hasn’t but occurred for survivors of these sorts of crimes in their very own family. That has its personal set of horrors and complexities that we actually want to have a look at. And society could be rather a lot more healthy if we did.

Dick: It turns into this psychological horror story, actually, within the first episode. To see the attitude of a kid and a accomplice when it is slowly dawning on them that one thing will not be proper with an individual that’s deep contained in the household can be a household psychological horror story that I feel is extraordinarily cinematic, and offers you a perspective into what many individuals in households the place incest is going on.

Do you are feeling like Dylan will lastly have been heard after that is throughout?

Ziering: Our hope is that folks lastly see the reality.

This interview has been edited and condensed.



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