Woody Allen's Quitting Hollywood Because Big Mean Netflix Is Ruining Cinema

Not for any other reason, right?
IMAGE SHUTTERSTOCK

Woody Allen hasn’t directed a film since the little-seen Rifkin’s Festival, released way back in 2020. The two years since have been a chaotic time in Allenworld—a damning HBO documentary delved into allegations that he sexually abused his daughter, while staffers at his publisher organized a massive walkout over his memoir—but as Allen tells it, he hasn’t made a film because Big Mean Netflix is ruining cinema.

Allen recently sat down with Alec Baldwin on Instagram Live to discuss his new collection of humor stories, Zero Gravity. Think about that pairing for a second. As one might expect, the conversation quickly turned to their grievances about Hollywood, something neither of them are short on, and Allen said that he’s lost interest in making movies during the age of streaming.

“I will probably make one more movie, but a lot of the thrill is gone because it doesn’t have the whole cinema effect,” he said. “When I started, you would do a film and it would go to movie houses all over the country and people would come. Now you do a movie and you get a couple of weeks in a movie house, maybe six weeks or four weeks, and then it goes right to streaming or to pay per view. People love sitting at home and watching on their big screens and watching it on their television sets and they have good sound and a clear picture. It’s not the same thing as when I went into the movie business. And so it’s not as enjoyable to me.”

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When Baldwin announced the interview in an Instagram post, fans slammed him for palling around with the disgraced filmmaker while still on the hook for the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was killed on the set of Rust when Baldwin discharged a prop gun loaded with real ammunition. “Let me preface this by stating that I have ZERO INTEREST in anyone’s judgments and sanctimonious posts here,” Baldwin wrote. “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.”

But the facts speak for themselves: HBO’s Allen v. Farrow painted such a damning portrait of Allen’s alleged sexual abuse of his daughter, Dylan Farrow, that Amazon cancelled his $68 million four-film deal. Allen has carried on making movies, even though his films are struggling to find distribution. But if you take it from him, he’s throwing in the towel because he’s just not feeling it—not for any other reason.

“I don’t get the same fun of doing a movie and putting it in a movie house,” Allen said. “It was a nice feeling to know 500 people were seeing it at once… I don’t know how I feel about making movies. I’m going to make another one and I’ll see how it feels.”

Later in the interview, Allen’s WiFi cut out, leaving Baldwin blinking in confusion. Once he clocked what was happening, he walked out of frame to shout at someone off-screen in Spanish. Then the troubleshooting began, with Baldwin looking flustered in a Titleist visor. Altogether, it was a sorry, out-of-touch scene. Sounds about right for two guys who should’ve been shuffled off-stage long ago.

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Adrienne Westenfeld
Assistant Editor
Adrienne Westenfeld is a writer and editor at Esquire, where she covers books and culture.
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