In a move bound to spark controversy, HBO is bringing an explosive investigative documentary series about embattled filmmaker Woody Allen to the screen.
Directed by Oscar-nominated documentarians Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, the four-part series titled Allen v. Farrow goes behind decades of sensational headlines to reveal the private story of one of Hollywood’s most notorious and public scandals: the accusation of sexual abuse against Woody Allen involving Dylan, his then 7-year-old daughter with Mia Farrow. The Amy Herdy-produced series chronicles Allen and Farrow‘s subsequent custody trial and the revelation of Allen’s relationship with Farrow’s daughter, Soon-Yi Previn.
HBO will debut the first episode on Feb. 21 at 9 p.m., with new episodes airing on subsequent Sundays at the same time
The series, which was shot in secret, is reminiscent of HBO‘s involvement in the Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland, which also tackled a once-beloved artistic genius accused of pedophilia. That docuseries also was made under the radar and announced just days before its Sundance launch, followed by a March 2019 release on HBO.
Once celebrated for their on- and off-screen partnership, Farrow and Allen’s lives were irrevocably fractured and their sprawling family torn apart with the public disclosure of the abuse allegations in 1992 and the vitriolic disputes that followed. Allen v. Farrow will be available to stream on HBO Max.
Featuring new investigative work pieced together via intimate home movie footage, court documents, police evidence, revelatory videotape and never-before-heard audio tapes, Allen v. Farrow also includes exclusive, in-depth interviews on the subject with Mia Farrow, Dylan Farrow, Ronan Farrow, family friend Carly Simon, prosecutor Frank Maco, relatives, investigators, experts and other first-hand eyewitnesses, many of them speaking publicly about the events for the first time. The series also offers prominent cultural voices who explore Allen’s body of work in a broader context and reflect on how public revelations about the personal lives of artists can lead to re-evaluations of their work.
Allen v. Farrow includes an intimate look at Farrow and Allen’s charmed courtship and emergence as one of Hollywood’s power couples, making 13 influential films together over a decade. Over time, Allen became a father figure to Farrow’s children as well as their shared children. Yet, threaded throughout all of their professional success and personal achievements there were dark undercurrents at play. Allen v. Farrow examines the devastating effects of trauma on a family and delves into the skepticism and backlash that can result from an accusation.
Dick and Ziering are no strangers to tackling polarizing subjects including accused hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons in the acclaimed HBO Max doc On the Record, currently in this year’s awards-season mix. Their doc The Invisible War delved into the subject of sexual assault in the military and led to sweeping policy change. The duo’s work has been recognized by every major film and TV award body and has spawned two Oscar nominations, an Emmy, a Peabody, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and George Polk Award.
Allen v. Farrow was made in association with Impact Partners and Chicago Media Project and is a Jane Doe Films Production. The series also was produced by Jamie Rogers; executive produced by Dick, Ziering, Dan Cogan, Tara Lynda Guber, Artemis Rising Foundation, Maiken Baird, Ian Darling, Steve Cohen & Paula Froehle, The Lozen Foundation, Debbie L. McLeod, Jenny Raskin and Geralyn White Dreyfous. Mikaela Shwer and Parker Laramie are the editors and music was done by Michael Abels. HBO senior producer Sara Rodriguez oversaw for the network alongside executive producers Lisa Heller and Nancy Abraham.