There are some misconceptions about me that I have to clarify. Before I get to the biggest one, let me tell you I may be short, skinny, and bespectacled but as a kid and young man I was a hell of an athlete especially in baseball. I could run and catch and throw and hit, though not with the power of Babe Ruth, and didn’t think it was unrealistic to dream of someday playing in the major leagues. Okay, I wasn’t that good but I could play and all my classmates knew it.
Many people think they know me because they’ve seen Play It Again, Sam and are convinced my role as Allan Felix is autobiographical and I really am a shy, inept guy who rarely gets a date and blows it when he does. Listen, that’s called screenwriting and fantasy and filmmaking. I’m not like that. I was popular in high school and lots of girls considered me cute and I socialized plenty and had a pretty girlfriend named Harlene who I married when I was twenty and our problems didn’t result because she considered me a schlemiel. I was a successful comedy writer producing jokes for big names when I was still in high school and had a wonderful future in the business but felt confined so started performing live comedy. I wasn’t worried people would consider me dorky. I was terrified they might not laugh at my jokes. Most comedians have the same fear. But I usually got some laughs and in a few years began appearing on all the shows and not only performed on the Tonight Show but sometimes guest hosted when Johnny Carson was on vacation.
Harlene didn’t drop me. We just didn’t get along and split but pretty soon I met Louise Lasser, and let me tell you she was beautiful and charming and always determined to jump into the nearest bed. On film I’ve referred to myself as a sexual athlete and that remark is accurate. Unfortunately, Louise was very unstable and intemperate and every time I left Manhattan for work I’d get calls from people telling me she was pounding the sheets with lots of other guys. Okay, I counterpunched by doing the same with a variety of beautiful actresses, playmates, and other hotties.
I admit Louise’s behavior hurt but when we divorced I moved right into romance with delectable Diane Keaton. Even after we broke up, I starred her in several fine films culminating in Annie Hall for which she won an Oscar for best actress. I couldn’t have been more delighted.
I know I’m a lucky guy meeting all these lovely and talented actresses. And I was both flattered and surprised Mia Farrow started pursuing me. I may be pretty confident but this lady had been married to Old Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra, and then she stole brilliant conductor Andre Previn from his wife and married him and began bearing children, three by Previn, and adopting others, and by the time Mia and I became involved she had eight kids. In those days she was beautiful and sexy and fun to be with.
I realized I couldn’t live in a house with eight kids since I hadn’t really been able to handle cohabitation with Harlene or Louise or Diane. I needed a quiet place to write. I’m getting ahead a little here but need to mention I’ve been nominated for sixteen best original screenplay Oscars and four times for best director and I’ve won three for writing and one for directing and couldn’t have written, directed, and often starred in a movie a year for decades unless I focused. For a while Mia was okay with our arrangement. I visited her and the kids whenever I wanted and had a key to her apartment on the other side of Central Park, and she came over to my place, too.
I suppose taking care of so many children and making thirteen straight movies together caused a lot of stress and she stopped being intimate so I was stunned when she told me she wanted to bear my child. She’d already adopted another, giving her nine, a complete baseball team, and I was thrilled when Satchel was born. You probably know him by the name he uses now – Ronan Farrow. Despite a full apartment Mia kept adopting and had thirteen kids by the time she told me Soon-Yi was tense and needed to get out and why didn’t I take her to a Knicks game. She had selected Soon-Yi from a Korean orphanage at age eight. Now she was a wonderful young woman of twenty, thirty-five years my junior but in many ways more mature, and began to reveal to me the physical and psychological abuse Mia had inflicted on her and the other kids, especially the adopted ones.
I enjoyed talking to Soon-Yi very much. We went to more ball games and took walks and ate in restaurants and visited art museums and went back to my apartment many times. I hadn’t been so aroused in eons but kept thinking, no, she doesn’t want me. She thinks I’m too old. She’ll be mad if I try something. Still, I couldn’t wait any longer, and nervously leaned over and kissed her, and she smiled and said she’d wondered when I was going to make a move. We both made moves we didn’t know we had and with technology today I’d probably have filmed us but thirty years ago polaroid camera shots were a pretty big deal and I accidentally on purpose left out a few beautiful images of Soon-Yi in the nude and Mia found them and you may have heard what followed.
Let’s be logical. Mia had been breathing fire and denouncing me to all her children and everyone else, and I understood that but still can’t comprehend why I accepted the invitation to her country home in Connecticut. I hate the country and all those mosquitos and crickets far from theaters, restaurants, and the place I play clarinet in Manhattan. And I don’t like being around people who hate and distrust me. This was the first time in my life for that, by the way. I can’t imagine anyone believes what Mia and our adopted daughter Dylan say happened. Mia went on an errand and I may have put my head in Dylan’s lap, and I may not have, and if I did, so what, while a group of us watched TV, and some days later I discovered I was being investigated for sexually abusing seven-year-old Dylan, not while watching TV but a little later supposedly taking her up to a crawl space and doing things no one before or since has accused me of and that I, as a loving father, would never have done to Dylan or everyone else.
That’s the allegation. According to Mia, I ventured into enemy territory where everyone had been told to keep me under surveillance, yet I suddenly decided to molest Dylan. It’s preposterous. Why did I choose such an absurd time and space? No logical person would, and I didn’t. The police investigated. So did doctors, psychologists, and social workers. And the Yale-New Haven Hospital’s experts in child abuse declared no physical abuse had taken place. They further explained that a vengeful mother coerced her increasingly disturbed daughter to try to destroy me. I’m thankful they couldn’t. Mia would rather continue to damage Dylan than accept I fell in love with Soon-Yi and we’re still married and happy almost thirty years later. And the Me Too movement, which insists you must always believe every accusation made by women, has forced distributors in the United States to bury my latest movie, A Rainy Day in New York. Fine. It’s doing quite well in Europe. A number of actors and actresses, who were delighted to work with me, have been me-too-ed into proclaiming they regret having done so and certainly will never work with me again. That hurts, but I’ll find other actors. If I don’t, no sweat. I’ve already made more than forty films and am almost eighty-five. And Mia, Ronan, and Me Too – nice job defending the First Amendment. You forced Hachette to back out of publishing my memoir Apropos of Nothing. Okay. Arcade stepped in and the book’s selling well and getting good reviews. I’m a lucky schlemiel. Plenty of people still believe in due process.