Hollywood’s hypocritical attitude towards canceled stars

Alec Baldwin (left), Johnny Depp (center) and Kevin Spacey (right) - ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images/

Alec Baldwin (left), Johnny Depp (center) and Kevin Spacey (right) – ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images/

Thierry Frémaux must spend sleepless nights. Woody Allen and Roman Polanski will both have films ready for next year’s Cannes Film Festival, while Maïwenn Le Besco, director of Johnny Depp’s next film The Favorite (about Louis XV and his mistress), is often pressed for an appearance on the Croisette. Festival director Frémaux would usually book them all – so will he keep his cool and put Cannes at the center of the culture wars?

The list continues. Kevin Spacey was recently found not guilty of sexual assault by a New York court, and his performance as Gore Vidal, the last film he made before charges were brought against him, is on the Netflix shelf. If he is found not guilty on five more counts in London next year – and he has denied them all – could this film appear? Will even James Franco, who settled a sexual misconduct lawsuit for $2.2m (£2m) last year, and Armie Hammer, whose ex-girlfriends have accused him of rape and cannibalistic fantasies but which have not been the subject of any charges after a police investigation, find their return to the screen?

The question of whether – and how – to rehabilitate canceled stars is still Hollywood’s hottest potato. “I’ll avoid this one on anything but ‘deep background,'” a senior producer said over the phone. Hollywood is both about relationships and money, she explained, but money usually comes first. “Without a real felony conviction, the question is, ‘Are they going to sell tickets? “”

Public relations veteran Mark Borkowski agrees that the end result finally speaks for itself. “If there are prison sentences or frank victims, it will be very difficult. R Kelly and [Harvey] Weinstein is not coming back. [Yet] Depp and Allen were not convicted or sentenced for anything. Social media is torn about Depp, especially TikTok, but 18-30 year olds aren’t Depp’s or Allen’s audience. I suspect older audiences will give them a chance – if the work is good.

It’s fitting that Allen and Depp could appear on the same Cannes bill as Polanski. The former couple have both funded and shot movies in France, where the Chinatown director has lived since he fled a 1978 pedophilia conviction. Although Allen has never been convicted of anything , accusations of child abuse of her adopted daughter Dylan Farrow, first made in 1992, resurfaced in 2017 and have lingered ever since. Although Allen has always denied the allegations, Amazon Studios halted the release of his 2018 film, A Rainy Day in New York, and when it appeared outside the United States the following year, its stars Timothée Chalamet, Elle Fanning and Selena Gomez refused to advertise and donated their salaries to charity.

Woody Allen has denied allegations of child abuse by his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow - AP Photo/Christophe Ena

Woody Allen has denied allegations of child abuse by his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow – AP Photo/Christophe Ena

That film managed to gross over $20 million worldwide, but Allen has struggled to find American support or major stars for his films since. His latest – currently known as WASP 22, aka Woody Allen Summer Project 2022 – is described as a “Parisian version of Match Point” shot almost entirely in French. It stars Niels Schneider, Lou de Laâge, Melvil Poupaud and Elsa Zylberstein. The money is American, Allen claims, but the source is not yet identified.

“Woody Allen feels clammy towards American producers even though he hasn’t been convicted,” says film journalist Ian Nathan. “The financiers he worked with in Spain and France believe him, but they can’t get meaningful distribution in the United States.” Media analyst Tom Harrington agrees: “Allen has had some success over the past two decades. Supporting it only makes sense if it is a tax deduction.

Depp, meanwhile, lost a libel suit against his ex-wife Amber Heard in Britain and won one in America, and was dropped in the Fantastic Beasts franchise process. “His superstar status and his billion-dollar franchise,” Nathan explains, “are behind him. He’s like Morrissey, whose fans don’t care about his dodgy statements and keep buying his albums. Depp is still punk rock – and he might come back to Hollywood if he stars in a brilliant European arthouse hit.

The actor, however, doesn’t appear to be playing ball. In CNews, French journalist Bernard Montiel reported on tensions on the set of La Favorite between former Jack Sparrow and actor-director Maïwenn. Depp, Montiel wrote, was often late and sometimes didn’t show up at all; production is going “very badly”. (Maïwenn was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.)

Johnny Depp lost a libel case against his ex-wife Amber Heard in Britain and won one in America – Shawn Thew/Pool via REUTERS

Johnny Depp lost a libel case against his ex-wife Amber Heard in Britain and won one in America – Shawn Thew/Pool via REUTERS

In contrast, Nathan suggests, in the case of Will Smith, the redemption story unfolds smoothly. “At the screenings of Emancipation [about a 19th-century runaway slave], stars like Rihanna literally said it was her redemption movie. We could see this film released before Christmas – and could also see the ultimate irony that it wins an Oscar again while still being banned from the ceremony.

“Unless Depp changes course, however, he will be walking on water in strange environments for years to come.” (Believing the contrast, however, Depp would only appear in Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty fashion show, released on Amazon Prime Video next Wednesday.) Alec Baldwin’s case is unclear and not entirely under scrutiny. his control. Since his involvement in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust last year, he has (he told CNN in August) lost at least five jobs. “I’ve been talking to these guys for months,” he said, “and they said to me yesterday, ‘We don’t want to do the movie with you because of this.'” On the other hand, Rust will now resume filming in January. It remains to be seen what the public will make of it, as it arrives.

Without a successful redemption narrative to encourage, post-scandal audiences tend to divide along culture war lines as much as anything else. Scottish stand-up comedian Jerry Sadowitz added the Hammersmith Apollo to his national tour in November, thanks to publicity for his Edinburgh Fringe show being canceled when the venue received complaints of ‘racist slurs’ and Sadowitz slammed is exhibited on stage. Apollo’s audience, if ticket sales are to be believed, is not regular Sadowitz fans, but people who oppose his “cancellation.”

The same goes for the audience at Louis CK’s recent concert at Wembley Arena, according to Steve Bennett, editor of comedy site Chortle.co.uk. The comedian lost a movie contract and his television career – costing him some $35 million, by his own count – after he admitted to lewd acts following a 2017 New York Times article that slammed him. accused of having fun in front of actresses. His 2022 self-financed, self-written, self-directed and self-published comedy Fourth of July bombed at the box office — earning just over $325,000 — and was panned by critics. The first time he tried to tour after his MeToo shame, there was a huge backlash and the promoter canceled the gigs. He finally played in the UK in October of that year.

“Louis CK’s material had many nuances, playing with or against audience expectations,” Bennett recalled. “This time he sold maybe 60% of the seat, and the audience was more of a Joe Rogan crowd. He received enthusiastic cheers from the announcement that he was the “disgraced and disgusting Louis CK”, suggesting that the crowd reveled in his seedy reputation. Everyone was there for the tough stuff, so he delivered that. It was as if a side had been chosen for him.

The problem for actors, says an agent, is that people who want to be successful on screen usually want some type of notoriety. “For movie stars, finding any audience is fine, but they would much prefer a younger audience,” an agent told me.

“Depp’s main problem is that he lost his cheekbones during the trial and he no longer looks like the tortured, handsome boy he once was. He looks more like a potato – and no one wants see Jack Sparrow played by Mr Potato Head.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *