“Allen v. Farrow,” HBO’s four-part docuseries examining the accusations of sexual abuse against Woody Allen, intentionally focuses on his daughter Dylan Farrow’s account because, as co-director Kirby Dick puts it, “Woody’s story is out there.”
The series pieces together court documents, interviews and home footage taken by Mia Farrow, including tapes where her daughter Dylan Farrow, then 7 years-old, recounts being sexually assaulted by Allen. In addition, it reexamines Dylan’s account, both as a child and now as an adult, and the high-profile custody battle between her parents. But given the absence of participation from Allen’s camp — including his wife Soon-Yi Previn and their adopted son Moses — the series’ fairness is brought into question.
Dick immediately defended the question, confirming that Soon-Yi and Moses were asked to be in the project and chose not to participate. “I think a lot of that reaction that you’re seeing is that Woody’s story is out there. All the facts and the deeper dive, the real investigation that Amy Herdy led and accomplished has yet to be out there, and that’s what this series is,” he told Washington Post critic Anne Hornaday.
Dick said in episode one that he thinks people who are aware of Dylan’s accusation that her step-father molested and “sexually assaulted” her as a child are reacting to one side of the story: Allen’s. Shortly after Dylan spoke out publicly with graphic details in January 2018, Allen issued a statement saying, “Dylan’s older brother Moses has said that he witnessed their mother … relentlessly coaching Dylan, trying to drum into her that her father was a dangerous sexual predator.”
“You’ve been a little naive if you really think it’s been a fair shake all along,” co-director Amy Ziering said. “It’s also a fallacy to think that our films are about a particular incident. It’s more about the systemic. This film is about complicity, the power of celebrity, the power of spin, how we all are viral and will believe something that’s repeated enough.”
Although Dylan remains the focus of the docuseries, the directors maintained that they had no specific agenda in mind when they were putting the film together, saying they never asked Mia or Dylan Farrow what they wanted from (or in) the project.
“I don’t think we ever asked them what they want. We didn’t ask them that. We weren’t doing this because of what they wanted,” Ziering said. “What I find is, each time we make a film, we go deeper and we have so much more to learn. That’s what’s revelatory to me, is that I go into this subject matter thinking I’ve kind of got it. And yet again, it’s one more process of discovery. So for us, it’s not so much and it never was about what they want. It’s about what we’re trying to accomplish as filmmakers.”
“Allen v. Farrow” premieres this Sunday on HBO at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Episodes 2-4 will air the following Sundays at the same time.