When it was released nearly two decades ago, Woody Allen’s “Celebrity” was most notable for its exploration of the power of fame, an unlikely portrayal of a very average man who is a magnet for beautiful women. In retrospect, the film is also fascinating for a brief scene that brings together Allen, Harvey Weinstein, and Donald Trump — three of the most famous modern-day men to be accused of sexual misconduct.
Their paths crossed in a scene in the Allen-directed film, distributed by Weinstein’s Miramax, in which Trump plays himself. Allen had already survived a scandal by the time “Celebrity” hit screens in 1998.
Dylan Farrow, Allen’s adopted daughter, says he sexually assaulted her in 1992, when she was 7 years old. He was never prosecuted and has always denied the allegations, saying his ex-wife, Mia Farrow, coached Dylan on her accusations.
A year ago, an “Access Hollywood” tape surfaced in which Trump bragged that he would grab women “by the p—y” without their consent. “When you’re a star, they let you do it,” he bragged to Billy Bush. Trump dismissed the comments as “locker-room banter” and went on to win the 2016 presidential election.
Weinstein is out of a job and faces the possibility of criminal charges. A New York Times report last week disclosed that he had paid women to silence accusations of harassment and misconduct. A New Yorker story Tuesday said three women accused him of rape. Several women described a similar routine, in which he would invite them to what were ostensibly business meetings, only to ask them for massages or sexual favors. He has denied “any allegations of non-consensual sex” through a spokeswoman.
Despite a big-name cast — it starred Kenneth Branagh and featured Leonardo DiCaprio and Charlize Theron — “Celebrity” failed to make much of an impact critically or commercially.
Some critics at the time questioned what seemed like a sense of sexual entitlement by Allen, who cast Branagh in what was widely seen as the traditional “Woody Allen” role. He played Lee Simon, a nebbishy entertainment writer trying to break into Hollywood.
“There have got to be entertainment writers all over the country chuckling at the kind of access Lee has to a drop-dead supermodel (played very amusingly by the stunning Charlize Theron),” wrote CNN’s Paul Tatara. “Forget access, though. How many supermodels out there are going to climb into a car with a middle-age freelance writer after a runway show and start offering up her thermonuclear body to him? … This enviable sexual altruism trails Branagh throughout the movie.”
Trump’s scene in “Celebrity” can be seen above.