Allen v. Farrow is a four-part docuseries with new episodes airing every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and available to stream on HBO Max

By Alexia Fernández
February 28, 2021 10:00 PM
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Mia Farrow is delving deep into the relationships of her big—and complicated—family.

On Sunday's second episode of the HBO docuseries Allen v. Farrow, the 76-year-old actress recalled adopting her daughter Soon-Yi Previn when the child was around 7 years old. Soon-Yi who would later go on to marry Mia's ex, Woody Allen. (Allen and Soon-Yi have slammed the docuseries, calling it a "hatchet job riddled with falsehoods.")

Explaining that Soon-Yi had entered her family at an older age than her other adopted children, Mia says her daughter "wasn't ready to bond with me."

Mia was a mother to seven children before meeting Allen: her children with ex-husband André Previn — twins Matthew and Sascha Previn, Lark Song Previn, Fletcher Previn and Summer "Daisy" Song Previn — as well as Soon-Yi and Moses Farrow. Allen would later go on to also adopt Moses as his son.

Farrow says she had to "work very hard over many years" to create a bond with Soon-Yi, making an effort by bringing her onto her film sets, including the set for the 1978 film Death On the Nile "because I did not want her to be separated from me, even overnight."

"Eventually," Farrow figured, Soon-Yi would "understand that I'm going to be there for her as long as she lives."

It was during this time that Farrow claims she and her then-partner Woody Allen began to experience problems in their relationship. "After a while, it didn't matter what I was or what I thought, I was there to serve him it felt like," she says of that period in the docuseries.

"I went into that role and tried to be the best version of what he wanted. Funny but not too funny, answering but not too talkative," she says in the docuseries. "For years he had said how lucky I was to work for him because [he'd say], 'Actors your age, they're dime a dozen. I could pick up the phone now, I can replace you in less than 2 minutes.'"

She adds, "It was Woody's world and it was very controlled."

Her close friend, singer Carly Simon, also features in the second episode, saying she saw the Annie Hall director, 85, "little by little, eroding her self-esteem, eroding her sense of self" over the course of their relationship. During their 10 years together, Mia and Allen collaborated on 13 films.

"He didn't like Mia to see her friends. He just wanted to isolate her," Simon, 75, says. "I don't know what was behind his saying cruel things to her, whether or not he believed it or whether it was just a tactic to kick her down so she could be under his rule."

In the docuseries, Mia claims she"encouraged" the director, 85, to work on creating a relationship with her daughter, Soon-Yi. 

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 15: Woody Allen (L) and Soon-Yi Previn attend Sony Pictures Classics "Irrational Man" premiere hosted by Fiji Water, Metropolitan Capital Bank and The Cinema Society on July 15, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/FilmMagic)
Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn
| Credit: Rob Kim/FilmMagic

"He took the little ones shopping and bought them airplanes and magic tricks," she recalls in the show. "He started bringing all of them to basketball games. I really encouraged him to go with Soon-Yi, too, because she was really shy."

The HBO docuseries uses excerpts from Allen's autobiography Apropos of Nothing, in which the filmmaker wrote about how his relationship with Soon-Yi, now 50, began. 

"I did take her to a game," Allen reads from his audiobook. "As we chatted at the game, I found that I was enjoying her company more than I should have. Cut to some time later, I'm shooting Husbands and Wives, Soon-Yi comes in from college and I screen The Seventh Seal. Bergman's film ends and we're alone in my screening room, and quite smoothly, if I do say so myself, I lean in and kiss her."

He continues, "She is complicit in the osculation and to the point, as always, says, 'I was wondering when you were going to make a move.'"

RELATED: Kate Winslet Regrets Working with Woody Allen and Roman Polanski: 'What the F--- Was I Doing?'

Allen co-starred in Husbands and Wives with Farrow. The two made the film in 1991 and it debuted in theaters in 1992 after their split. 

"Soon-Yi and I thought we could have our little fling, keep it a secret since Soon-Yi wasn't living at home and I lived alone like a bachelor," Allen says in his audiobook, excerpted in the docuseries. "I thought it would be a nice experience and Soon-Yi would eventually meet some guy at college and enter a more conventional relationship. I didn't realize how attached to one another we'd already grown."

In the show, Farrow claims Allen's relationship with Soon-Yi began while her daughter was still in high school. Allen claims their relationship began after Soon-Yi's first semester of college in December 1991. 

"I love her so much and I didn't ever blame her, you know, because she was just a little kid when he came into the family," Farrow says in the second episode. "She was a little girl. We were family and he was in my home as my partner and as such he had responsibilities. You don't get to have sex with my children. That isn't part of the deal."

In order to get out of New York City, Farrow says she moved her family to her home in Connecticut where she allowed Allen to visit once a week to see the children. 

Farrow recalls leaving her children in the care of two babysitters and a French tutor while she went on a shopping trip with her friend Casey Pascal. It was on that day, she claims, that Allen visited and disappeared for a few minutes with their daughter Dylan, who Mia adopted during the early stages of their relationship. (Allen would go on to become her adopted father.)

Pascal's babysitter allegedly told her she saw Allen "kneeling on the floor with his head buried in her lap."

In the docuseries, Dylan also goes into detail about her accusations of sexual assault against the director, describing an incident in their home's attic where she says Allen molested her as a child.

Allen has long denied the allegations of child abuse, which were first reported during his 1992 split from Mia. Allen was not charged, though a Connecticut prosecutor said there was probable cause for a criminal case.

"It's really hard to believe that somebody you respect and, for me, somebody you really love deeply could be capable of something so awful to a child," Farrow says in the series. "It's very hard to believe, very, very hard to believe."

MIA FARROW
Mia Farrow w. her children (back row L-R) Matthew, Sascha, Soon-Yi; (front row L-R) Daisy, Fletcher, Moses and Lark; on their way to New Year's Eve Mass.
| Credit: David Mcgough/DMI/Time Life Pictures/Getty

"I knew one thing: That I would need to put away that other self, put away that person that was so hurt, put away that person that was so confused, put away that person that was so hopeful. That person was gone," she adds. "This is your reality. You have one job and that is to stand by your child and keep her safe." 

Allen went on to marry Soon-Yi in 1997. The couple has two daughters. 

On Monday, the couple slammed the HBO docuseries calling it a "hatchet job riddled with falsehoods."

"These documentarians had no interest in the truth," a spokesperson for the couple said in a statement provided to Deadline and other outlets. "Instead, they spent years surreptitiously collaborating with the Farrows and their enablers to put together a hatchet job riddled with falsehoods."

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"Woody and Soon-Yi were approached less than two months ago and given only a matter of days 'to respond.' Of course, they declined to do so," the statement continued. "As has been known for decades, these allegations are categorically false. Multiple agencies investigated them at the time and found that, whatever Dylan Farrow may have been led to believe, absolutely no abuse had ever taken place."

Allen v. Farrow is a four-part docuseries with new episodes airing every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and available to stream on HBO Max.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.