Just weeks after suing Amazon for canceling a four-movie deal, Woody Allen is working on a new film in Spain.
The project is being backed by Mediapro, a Barcelona-based conglomerate that has financed several films by Allen, including the romantic dramas “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and “Midnight in Paris.”A spokeswoman for the company confirmed Allen was already working on the film, but said she could not confirm any other details such as local media reports that he had already scouted locations.
Allen has been under scrutiny over longstanding abuse allegations that he molested his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow in 1992.
In August 2017, Amazon reached a $68 million deal with Allen’s production company to fund and distribute at least four movies, including “A Rainy Day in New York.” Later that year, Farrow wrote an op-ed piece in The Los Angeles Times, arguing that the #MeToo movement has “spared” the once-revered director.
According to a lawsuit, Amazon executives met with members of Allen’s team to discuss postponing the release of “A Rainy Day in New York,” which Allen had completed, to 2019. The studio said it had already been facing “negative publicity and reputational harm” for its past association with Harvey Weinstein.
Last June, Amazon Studios sent an email to Allen’s representatives saying that the deal was terminated, citing the renewed allegations, the director’s “own comments, and the increasing refusal of top talent to work with or be associated with him in any way, all of which have frustrated the purpose of the agreement.”
“A Rainy Day in New York” has yet to be released; the last of Allen’s films to hit theaters in the United States was the 2017 drama “Wonder Wheel,” which was distributed by Amazon Studios.
Amazon has partnered with Mediapro in the past, but it is not involved with Allen’s new project. And Jennifer Salke, the head of Amazon Studios, said in a New York Times report this week that the company does not have plans to release any movies by the director.
When asked why it was working with Allen given that Amazon had stopped doing so, Mediapro said in a statement, “We have a 10-year relationship with Mr. Allen and, like all projects we produce, we judge the creator by its work.”
“All of our projects have a unique personality, and we support all types of artistic voices and ideas and remain committed to producing well-defined and creative projects for audiences worldwide,” the statement continued.
Allen’s work has long found more success abroad, particularly in Europe. In an interview with The Times in 1998, Allen said his movies rarely break even in the United States. He added: “I’ve always depended on Europe to supplement my grosses.”
“Wonder Wheel” brought in only $1.4 million in North America. It collected nearly $14.5 million overseas, with its highest revenues in France, Italy and Spain, according to Box Office Mojo, which tracks ticket sales.
Allen’s reputation may have cost him the Amazon deal and alienated a number of A-list actors, but some have come to his defense. In October, Javier Bardem, who starred in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” called the upheaval surrounding the abuse allegations a “public lynching” and said he would work with Allen again. In an interview in The Times published in November, Jude Law, who worked with Allen on “A Rainy Day in New York,” said the shelving of the film by Amazon was a “terrible shame.”
“I’d love to see it,” Law said. “People worked really hard and put a lot in, obviously himself included.”
Even as the filmmaker was wrapping up production on “A Rainy Day in New York” last year, he had already secured financing for a script he was working on outside the Amazon agreement, Letty Aronson, Allen’s sister and longtime producer, told The Times.
“I have no doubt,” she said, “that he’ll be able to find new talent.