Alan Alda will be taking home a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Screen Actors Guild Awards this weekend, so the legendary M*A*S*H star has been doing a lot of press this week. Two topics Alda has discussed are some of the most controversial film and comedy figures of the recent past: disgraced comedian Louis C.K. and disgraced-to-some-people filmmaker Woody Allen. Alda has a decidedly different take on both of these men.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Alda — who appeared in Louis C.K.’s self-released 2016 series Horace and Pete — was asked for his thoughts on C.K. now. “You have to face the idea that you can still love somebody even though they’ve done something hateful,” he said, referring to Sarah Silverman’s initial reaction to the New York Times report on C.K.’s sexual misconduct from her now-canceled Hulu series I Love You, America. “I respect Louie so much as an artist. But he did a terrible thing,” Alda added. “And I hope he finds a way to come to terms with both of those things.”
In his latest interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Alda also shared his take on Woody Allen (he’s appeared in three of Allen’s films) when asked if he regrets working with the filmmaker. “I’d work with him again if he wanted me. I’m not qualified to judge him,” Alda said. “I don’t know all the facts. I don’t know if he’s guilty or innocent. But you can be uncertain — that’s what I go on. I just don’t have enough information to convince me I shouldn’t work with him. And he’s an enormously talented guy.”
Javier Bardem, Alec Baldwin, and Diane Keaton have also defended Woody Allen and said they’d work with him again, while a growing list of actors have expressed regret, including Michael Caine, Mira Sorvino, Colin Firth, Greta Gerwig, David Krumholtz, Rebecca Hall, and Griffin Newman. Kristen Stewart and Kate Winslet have offered defenses similar to Alda’s, with Winslet saying, “Of course one thinks about it. But at the same time, I didn’t know Woody and I don’t know anything about that family … Having thought it all through, you put it to one side and just work with the person.” Blake Lively took it a step further back in 2016, going so far as to say that Allen is “empowering to women.”