Woody Allen movies often have some gross undertones (particularly in the case of his next project), but his archives at Princeton University’s Firestone Library seem to be utterly packed with overtly gross stories about older men falling in love with significantly younger women. That’s according to Richard Morgan, who survived what sounds like a thoroughly unsettling dive into the 56 boxes of Woody Allen’s “drafts and scribblings” that the library has been curating for the last few decades and wrote about the experience for The Washington Post.
The archives include unpublished stories, old drafts of movie scripts, and fictional interviews with real-life actresses, and Morgan says the library staff told him he was the first person to ever go through the whole mess from cover to cover. One reason for that could be because, as he puts it, the whole thing “drips with repetitious misogyny.” He describes stories after stories that objectivize women and young girls, with different drafts of one script changing “good legs” to “great legs,” then “enormous breasts,” and then “long, tanned legs.” A lot of pieces also nod toward an obsession with being in a room “with two eighteen-year-old cocktail waitresses.”
One screenplay from the late ‘60s or early ‘70s called The Filmmaker even revolves around a struggling director named Woody Allen who has a side gig making porn. He’s in a loveless relationship with an woman who works at the Museum Of Modern Art, but he falls in love with “a girl” with schizophrenia and leaves the other woman at the altar. The fictional interviews are some of the creepiest stuff, though, even if Morgan notes that he probably intended them to be “parody.” In one, he says that he had to “make love to” actress Janet Margolin in order to “get a decent performance” from her, and in another he imagined a scenario in which he informed Nati Abascal (who worked on Bananas) of a “sexual obligation” required for working with him.
Here’s a passage from that piece:
I came to appreciate her body for what it was as time went by, namely, a girl’s body. . . Soon she got used to my ways. Aware of my position as father figure on the set (a director is just that) I allowed her to come to me with her problems. When she never showed up, I came to her with mine.
That stuff all seems to be made up, but as Morgan explains, it appears “grounded in the reality that Allen seems to see the function of women in his life as their begging to be a part of it.” Overall, the entirety of the archives indicate that Allen has “an insistent, vivid obsession with young women and girls,” which really should be fairly unsurprising even for people who are just familiar with his actual produced work.