Variety is reporting that Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix will be starring in Woody Allen’s next, still untitled film, which he will produce and write and direct as usual.
Emma, why? Emma, you have all the options. So many powerful, influential humans, humans in charge of casting actresses like you in movies, already adore you. You could fill your days with any number of projects, projects that are meaningful to you, working with people who inspire and push you and send you to the Oscars. Everyone fell in love with you in Spider-Man. Even Spider-Man fell in love with you in Spider-Man. You are funny and charming and talented and delightful. You lip sync like a champion. I also like your crop-top. Could you just… could you not work with Woody Allen? Would that be so very hard?
To review: Dylan Farrow, Mia Farrow and Woody Allen’s adopted daughter, has publicly and repeatedly accused Allen of sexually assaulting her throughout her childhood. Responses from those who work with Allen have been non-committal at best. It’s a lot of dodgy “it’s all guesswork” and “I hope they find peace,” and “we shouldn’t comment on another family’s personal struggle,” which is kind of ironic if you think about it, given that Dylan Farrow is the one who elected to make it public. The person who wanted to keep things private, according to Dylan’s account, was Woody: “He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret.”
Much has been and can be written about when it comes to the ethical dilemma as a consumer. How do you separate the artist from the art? Should you have to? I don’t think there are always simple answers to that for mere mortals who just like listening to music and going to the movies. I do think there should be an app so that, every time you are in a bar and (for instance) a Chris Brown song comes on, you can tap the icon on your phone and automatically make a donation to a women’s shelter or domestic violence support center. That is one thing we could do, as consumers of content.
But the obligation of creators of content, people like Emma Stone, is a fundamentally different one. (Emma Stone actually got a personal callout in Dylan Farrow’s piece; the actress is one of a few listed at the end of the New York Times op-ed who is asked, “What if it was your child?”) The film industry, and the wealthy, authoritative people who comprise it, vote with their artistic choices. They get to decide whose story gets heard. At this point, signing on to appear in a Woody Allen film is either condoning his actions or siding with his “it never happened, my daughter was brainwashed and is lying” version of events.
One more thing: Please don’t leave comments telling me how much you love Annie Hall. I don’t care. I liked “Ignition (Remix),” too, but not enough to cancel out that bile-rising-in-throat feeling you can’t not get thinking about every horrific act of violence R. Kelly has committed on enough teenage girls to fill a school bus. This is not about movies Woody Allen has already made. This is about movies he hasn’t made yet, and the apparatus that facilitates his continued success. An apparatus that, as it turns out, employs Emma Stone, everyone’s movie star BFF.