Rosie O’Donnell didn’t think twice about turning down an offer to star in a Woody Allen film.
The “A League of Their Own” actress recently recalled during “The Howard Stern Show” that following a 1995 HBO comedy special where she slammed the child abuse charges against Allen, the director called her to star in his feature “Sweet and Lowdown.”
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“I had done an HBO special where I said everything about him,” O’Donnell said, via Entertainment Weekly. “And then I got on my show. So it’s the first year of my show and I get a call and they said, ‘He wants you to be in [‘Sweet and Lowdown’]. I said, ‘Please send him my HBO special.’ And the woman said, ‘Oh he’s already seen it.’ And I said, ‘Send it anyway with two words: Fuck no.’ And I sent it to him.”
Sean Penn and Uma Thurman led the 1999 feature. As O’Donnell continued, Allen’s team was persistent in requesting her to appear in the film despite her strong comments against the “Manhattan” director.
“They called back and said, ‘He really wants you to do it. He’d like to talk to you about it,'” the “American Gigolo” star explained. “I said, ‘I’m not doing it. I’m not working for him or with him and being associated with him.'”
O’Donnell added that Allen seemed to be frustrated that “he couldn’t use his weight to entice someone over to his side” while he “had a lot of people under his spell.”
The situation also led to O’Donnell befriending Mia Farrow.
“She heard that story and she called me to see if it was true and I said, ‘Oh yes, it’s true.’ And she started to cry and said, ‘Even my closest friends didn’t stick behind me during this and that here you did your HBO special and now you did this, I’m forever in your debt,'” O’Donnell shared. “I said, ‘You’re not in my debt at all, but you are my friend and I admired you for years and what you’ve done with your life.'”
O’Donnell’s former HBO special compared Allen to O.J. Simpson, saying the “Annie Hall” auteur “annoys” her more than the alleged murderer.
“Can you believe the nerve of this guy, showing up in public with his lover-slash-daughter?” O’Donnell dished about Allen and Soon-Yi Previn. “Incest, buddy, is a word. Look it up. Pedophile, what a concept. Have you heard of it?”
She added, “I forgot that rule: You can adopt a baby and when she turns 16, fuck her! That’s the Woody Allen clause in all the adoption contracts…Every day my agent has been calling me for the last month saying, ‘Please don’t do that bit about O.J. Please don’t do that bit about Woody Allen. People love him in Hollywood, it could hurt your career.’ Oh yeah? So I won’t be in ‘Annie Hall 2.’ Eat me.”
In 2014, O’Donnell said that she “totally believes” the allegations from Dylan Farrow, calling Allen’s ex Mia Farrow one of her “very good friends.”
“She’s the best mother I’ve ever seen,” O’Donnell said at the time (via Deadline). “I firmly believe Mia, and I firmly believe Dylan.”
During “The Howard Stern Show,” O’Donnell shared a similar take on Michael Jackson, another alleged child abuser. The late King of Pop asked to meet O’Donnell at a wedding they were both attending. O’Donnell remembered telling Jackson’s security guard, “I’m a member of the Children’s Defense Fund and I believe every accusation against him,” and Jackson did not approach her.
Both Allen and Jackson were subjects of respective HBO true crime documentaries, “Allen v. Farrow” charting Dylan’s alleged abuse, and “Finding Neverland” about multiple Jackson accusers.
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