Woody Allen has released a movie every year for about 40 years. Now that streak may be over. Amazon Studios, which has produced his last two features, told the Guardian there is no planned release date for his latest work “A Rainy Day In New York.” This coincides with the #MeToo movement and the renewed focus on a sexual assault allegation against Allen – an allegation made in the early 1990s by his daughter Dylan Farrow. She was 7 at the time. Allen has always denied the claim, and authorities never pursued the case. For more, we turn to Kim Masters. She’s the editor at large at the Hollywood Reporter. Thank you for joining us.
KIM MASTERS: My pleasure.
CORNISH: So despite the question about this movie, there’s this ongoing deal between Amazon and Woody Allen that was made in 2016. But these allegations against Allen aren’t new. So how has that deal viewed at the time?
MASTERS: You know, the allegations aren’t new. But at that time, I think most people were saying benefit of the doubt to Woody Allen. And talent was still working with him. And certainly the head of Amazon Studios at the time, Roy Price, loved to make deals with these auteur art house filmmakers. I think it was viewed as an extraordinarily rich deal – like to the point of not making sense. He was paid $80 million for a TV show that he himself said he didn’t know what it would be. And he thought that the head of the studio Roy Price would come to regret having made that deal. But I don’t think there was an outcry such as the one that would ensue now if he were involved with the project.
CORNISH: Once the #MeToo movement sort of came to light, how did that affect how Allen was viewed? And how did that affect this deal?
MASTERS: Well, I think Dylan Farrow came forward again. She’s an adult now. And she has spoken out very publicly, with support from her brother Ronan Farrow, about the alleged molestation that – as Woody Allen correctly says, there was never a prosecution. And a lot of people would say that that is a reason to give him the benefit of the doubt. But it coincided with some other factors, such as an archivist who wrote in The Washington Post about studying all of Woody Allen’s past works and concluding that they show an unhealthy infatuation with very young women – and the fact that he married his stepdaughter Soon-Yi and had photographed her in the nude when she was 16 years old. I mean, all of that stuff sort of got looked at in a new light, I think, with the Times Up moment. And talent started to flee from him.
CORNISH: Talk more about that. How are actors speaking out or speaking differently than they were before about working with Allen?
MASTERS: Many of them have said now that they regret working for him or with him. Greta Gerwig was asked about this, very predictably, at the Golden Globes this past year. And she kind of bobbled the question when she was standing in front of the press at that moment. And there was so much blowback that she had to amend that the next day – practically, I think – and say, I regret working with him, and I wouldn’t do it again. And with that followed a number of people who had done movies with him who said they would not work with him and would donate whatever they had earned from those movies to some kind of charity.
CORNISH: What does this mean for Amazon Studios and the rest of this deal? They’re under contract for three more movies from Allen after “A Rainy Day In New York.”
MASTERS: Well, ironically due to my reporting, Roy Price, who made the deal, left Amazon Studios due to allegations of sexual misconduct. He was replaced by Jen Salke, who was an executive at NBC. I think Amazon very much wanted to put a woman in charge given what had happened before. I think that probably they will buy him out of his deal – do whatever is necessary to resolve it. And I think it’s going to be tough for Woody Allen going forward because his past strength was so many people wanted to work with him. Now stars don’t want to be seen with him. Nobody wants to walk a red carpet with him. So I think this may be the twilight – the sunset of Woody Allen’s career, who has had a great career with many outstanding films. But unfortunately, his apparent demons I think have brought that to a close.
CORNISH: Kim Masters is the editor at large for the Hollywood Reporter. She also host KCRW’s The Business, a podcast about business in Hollywood. She joined us via Skype. Kim, thank you.
MASTERS: Thank you.