Will Boston-area movie houses show Woody Allen’s next film?
Last week, as the premiere of Louis C.K.’s film, “I Love You, Daddy,” was canceled, and the people behind Ridley Scott’s upcoming release “All the Money in the World” announced that Kevin Spacey would be cut from the project, Dorchester film fan Lindsay Crudele had a question for the Coolidge Corner Theatre.
“Hey friends at @thecoolidge,” she tweeted, “love you lots & appreciate everything you do. The new Woody Allen is due to screen soon; are there any plans for a public conversation around this?”
It’s a big question for the independent theaters like Coolidge, which have long promoted films by Allen, who was accused of sexual assault by Dylan Farrow . (Farrow wrote about her allegations — which Allen has denied — in The New York Times in 2014.)
Over the years, critics have written about separating Allen’s art from Allen’s personal life, or avoided discussions about his past (and his treatment of women) altogether. But in recent weeks, after The New York Times published its story about sexual abuse and assault allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein, more people in the industry have spoken out against Allen and his place in Hollywood. (Farrow’s brother, Ronan, also reported in The New Yorker on allegations against Weinstein.)
Actor Griffin Newman, who appears in Allen’s next film, “A Rainy Day in New York,” has said that he regrets taking a job with the director. “I believe he is guilty,” Newman tweeted, of Allen, in October. “I donated my entire salary to RAINN [Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network].”
Actress Ellen Page, who appeared in Allen’s 2012 film, “To Rome With Love,” has also spoken out about her role in an Allen project.
“I did a Woody Allen movie and it is the biggest regret of my career,” Page wrote in a Facebook post last week.
Kate Winslet, who stars in Allen’s new release, “Wonder Wheel,” with Justin Timberlake, recently avoided a conversation about Allen’s past, in an interview in Variety, by saying, “It’s just a difficult discussion. I’d rather respectfully not enter it today.”
“Wonder Wheel” is set to be released Dec. 1, but the Coolidge has not made any decisions about programming yet. The movie house responded to Crudele via Twitter by saying, “we will be thinking of ways to address this topic. Thank you!” The Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation’s official statement to the Globe was: “Our programming decisions take into account artistic merit, current issues and our view of audience response, knowing that patrons will choose what they want to see.”
Meanwhile, Landmark Theatres, which owns the Kendall Square Cinema — another local bastion of indie movies — declined to comment on how allegations of sexual harassment and assault by film producers and directors would affect its programming or the release of “Wonder Wheel.” As of Monday, there was no listing for the film on the Kendall site’s “Coming Soon” page.
Ned Hinkle, creative director at the Brattle Theatre, said that revelations about the industry (some new, some old) have — and will — affect the lineup in his movie house.
“We’re not really interested in celebrating these guys as super-duper artists,” Hinkle said, of Hollywood men who have been accused of abuse. “We probably wouldn’t do another Roman Polanski retrospective.” (In 2008, the Brattle hosted “Roman Polanski’s Passions,” featuring five days of films such as “Knife in the Water” and “The Pianist.” Polanski has been a fugitive from the United States since he pleaded guilty to drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977.)
Hinkle said that if films by directors like Polanski are on the Brattle lineup, they’ll be put in context.
“They’ve now rightfully become titles that are grouped in with [films] such as ‘Song of the South’ or ‘The Birth of a Nation,’ ” Hinkle said.
As for films affiliated with Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual harassment and assault, Hinkle said it’s more complicated.
“Most of those films are pieces of art that exist despite his involvement, not because of it,” he said. “We’re still not in a hurry to present any work that was produced by him. It’s definitely something that’s still under consideration.”
Hinkle acknowledged that because the Brattle is a small theater that doesn’t depend on new releases, it’s easier for him to make swift changes about programming.
“I guess we’re in the fortunate position of saying, ‘There are so many other movies that could be celebrated,’” Hinkle said.
Crudele, a digital strategist, said that at the very least, she wants a theater like the Coolidge to be thoughtful about who gets screen time and why.
“I’d like to see our local institutions ask whether we need to reward known abusers with a market and an audience for their art, when those abusers have likely limited the careers of those they have abused, and when the successful production and distribution of the films themselves are in a way a triumph of systemic abuse, and the quieting of victims,” Crudele said in a message to the Globe. “I think it would be hard for it not to feel like a form of betrayal to showcase Woody Allen without comment. Given the national conversation, I see an opening for a healthy and refreshing conversation. I feel hopeful our local institutions are up for the challenge.”