Alec Baldwin and Woody Allen chatted for nearly an hour on Instagram Live Tuesday without a single mention of the scandals that have lately come to define their public lives: Baldwin’s accidental shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of his film Rust, and Allen’s near-cancellation over accusations that he molested his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, three decades ago.
You could read it as a Trumpian attempt to change the narrative: When you’re accused of something awful, just keep moving, saying and doing so may distracting things that people lose track of the initial accusation. Except that Baldwin and Allen didn’t say anything particularly interesting. They just talked, like the old friends that they are, mostly about Allen’s writing.
No one would mistake their chat for a slick, sophisticated attempt at rebranding: Allen’s screen froze twice, leading Baldwin to plead with the directors’ handlers to find the room in his house with the best WiFi.
It turns out that two Hollywood millionaires are as bad at Instagram Live as almost everyone else.
throughout the interview, the number of viewers hovered around 2,700.
Baldwin was well aware of the potential anger his talk with Allen might bring. He announced the chat in an Instagram post in which he wrote: “Let me preface this by stating that I have ZERO INTEREST in anyone’s judgments and sanctimonious posts here. I am OBVIOUSLY someone who has my own set of beliefs and COULD NOT CARE LESS about anyone else’s speculation. If you believe that a trial should be conducted by way of an HBO documentary, that’s your issue.”
So what did they talk about? Mostly old man stuff. How much Allen always loved The New Yorker; how the magazine used to call its comic essays “casuals” back in the day; how they both avoided COVID; how Allen sometimes makes “wife jokes” about Soon-Yi in his books, but she’s cool with that.
Soon-Yi married Allen in 1997, five years after Woody Allen and longtime partner Mia Farrow broke up over the discovery of his sexual relationship with Soon-Yi, Farrow’s adopted daughter with André Previn. Soon-Yi was about 20 or 21 at the time of the discovery; her exact birthdate is unknown.
During Allen and Farrow’s custody dispute over their shared children, Ronan, Moses and Dylan Farrow, Farrow accused Allen of molesting Dylan, accusations that both she and Dylan repeated in a lengthy HBO documentary series last year.
Allen has always contended that Mia Farrow coached Dylan Farrow to make false accusations, but after decades of continued success — even after the initial accusation — Hollywood largely turned on Allen in the midst of the #MeToo movement.
Of course, none of that was mentioned in the Intagram Live. But there was at least one bit of wisdom, via an unnamed producer: Baldwin shared an anecdote about an experience he had as a young actor on a film set, years ago:
“A bunch of us were making fun of the kind of less-than-wonderful reviews of an Arnold Schwarzenegger film, and the producer walked up to us he said, ‘Don’t do that.’ He said, ‘When Arnold makes a movie, 250 highly paid people in the movie business go to work. And number two, they take a vig off the top of that box office to develop other scripts for a movie that you might be in next year. So don’t begrudge people success.’ And I kind of took a little bit of that to heart.”
Allen also answered a question from Baldwin about who he wished he could have worked with. Allen chose W.C. Fields and Bob Hope. Allen says he often finds himself defending Hope from people who think of him as a Republic making Miss America jokes.
“Your wife is a lucky woman to get to go to Europe with you again in the fall,” said Baldwin, referring to Allen’s plans to shoot another film there.
“Lucky for many reasons,” Allen quipped.
Main image: Alec Baldwin and Woody Allen on Instagram Live.