Woody Allen Defends Roman Polanski, Surprises No One

As his fight against extradition from Switzerland to the U.S. to face a 1977 rape charge drags interminably on, I’m sure that Roman Polanski appreciates all the public support he can get. Well, perhaps not all. In Cannes to promote his forthcoming You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Woody Allen did a radio interview in which he came out in support of his fellow director. “It’s something that happened many years ago… he has suffered…. He has paid his due,” Allen told French station RTL. This is akin to having Michael Vick defend you against charges of animal cruelty.

“He’s an artist, he’s a nice person, he did something wrong and he paid for it,” Allen continued. “They (his critics) are not happy unless he pays the rest of his life. They would be happy if they could execute him in a firing squad.” Allen, of course, knows the feeling. He was 56 when, in 1992, he began dating 22-year-old Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of erstwhile partner Mia Farrow. It’s not necessarily on a par with Polanski’s case, but you’d nevertheless think that Allen would recognize how his endorsement might be undesirable.

Allen however, who’s 74 to Poalnski’s 76, may have gotten past the point of editing himself. His press appearances at Cannes have been likened to extended therapy sessions, and have included a lot of repining about old age. Jeffrey Wells has him offering the following (sage?) advice: “There is no advantage in getting older…You don’t get smarter, you don’t get wiser, you don’t get more mellow, you don’t get more kindly…nothing good happens. Your back hurts more, you get indigestion, your eyesight isn’t as good and you need a hearing aid. It’s a bad business getting older, and I would advise you not to do it if you can.”

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