Kate Winslet almost didn’t work with alleged child sex abuser Woody Allen because he’s so ‘quirky’

Okay.

Actress Kate Winslet attends a special screening of "Wonder Wheel", hosted by Amazon Studios, at the Museum of Modern Art on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in New York. CREDIT: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
Actress Kate Winslet attends a special screening of "Wonder Wheel", hosted by Amazon Studios, at the Museum of Modern Art on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in New York. CREDIT: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Why would an actress be nervous about working with Woody Allen? One would think, not unreasonably, that allegations that he sexually abused his daughter, Dylan Farrow, when she was a child, would be of paramount concern.

But for Kate Winslet, who was early to the denounce-Harvey-Weinstein party — the Oscar-winning actress made a point of saying she “deliberately” left Weinstein out of her acceptance speech — the issue with Allen was his offbeat personality. Winslet overcame these major concerns to star in Allen’s Wonder Wheel, which premiered in November.

Director Woody Allen, center, poses with actors Kate Winslet, left, and Juno Temple at a special screening of "Wonder Wheel", hosted by Amazon Studios, at the Museum of Modern Art on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in New York. CREDIT: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
Director Woody Allen, center, poses with actors Kate Winslet, left, and Juno Temple at a special screening of "Wonder Wheel", hosted by Amazon Studios, at the Museum of Modern Art on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in New York. CREDIT: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

In her conversation with Gary Oldman for Variety‘s “Actors on Actors” series, Winslet said her apprehension stemmed not from Allen’s alleged history of sexually abusing his daughter when she was a child but from what Variety described as his “reputation for having a quirky, demanding personality.”

“Immediately I’m not being myself and I hate myself and I’m thanking God that I’m not auditioning because I definitely would not have gotten the job,” she said.

Winslet was hesitant to spend time away from her family, she said, but her daughter encouraged her to “get over [her]self” and take the role.

Speaking of spending time with your daughter: Dylan recently wrote an op-ed in the L.A. Times, asking “why the #MeToo revolution [has] spared Woody Allen?

Allen denies my allegations. But this is not a “he said, child said” situation. Allen’s pattern of inappropriate behavior — putting his thumb in my mouth, climbing into bed with me in his underwear, constant grooming and touching — was witnessed by friends and family members. At the time of the alleged assault, he was in therapy for his conduct towards me. Three eyewitnesses substantiated my account, including a babysitter who saw Allen with his head buried in my lap after he had taken off my underwear. Allen refused to take a polygraph administered by the Connecticut state police.

In the final legal disposition of the matter, a judge denied him custody of me, writing that “measures must be taken to protect” me and that there was “no credible evidence” that my mother, Mia Farrow, coached me in any way. A prosecutor took the unusual step of announcing that he had probable cause to charge Allen but declined in order to spare me, a “child victim,” from an exhausting trial.

It is a testament to Allen’s public relations team and his lawyers that few know these simple facts. It also speaks to the forces that have historically protected men like Allen: the money and power deployed to make the simple complicated, to massage the story.

The events Dylan describes occurred over 20 years ago. But amid a widespread reckoning of sexually abusive men in power, particularly in the entertainment industry, the Allen allegations are back in the headlines.

Ronan Farrow, Dylan’s brother, believes the allegations are true, and has cited his family’s experience as a factor driving his aggressive investigative reporting in the New Yorker on Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual abuse and coercion. And Allen was the inspiration, in more ways than one, for Louis C.K.’s dead-on-arrival movie, I Love You, Daddy, in which C.K. played a TV producer whose underage daughter had an intimate relationship with a 68-year-old film director. The day the movie was supposed to premiere, the New York Times published an investigation verifying long-rumored allegations about C.K.’s sexual misconduct. C.K. admitted that all the allegations in the story were true.

When the Weinstein investigations broke in early October, Allen told the BBC that it was important everybody keep a cool head here: “You also don’t want it to lead to a witch hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere, where every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself. That’s not right either.” He described “the whole Harvey Weinstein thing” as “very sad for everybody involved. Tragic for the poor women that were involved, sad for Harvey that his life is so messed up.”

He later backpedaled in a statement to Variety: “When I said I felt sad for Harvey Weinstein I thought it was clear the meaning was because he is a sad, sick man. I was surprised it was treated differently. Lest there be any ambiguity, this statement clarifies my intention and feelings.”