Flashback: to my talk with Mia Farrow in January 2003. I remember this talk well. Mia didn’t say to me, Woody Allen molested my child. At the time, Ronan Farrow was known as Seamus. Dylan was going by Malone. Dylan was then already 18. Woody was in a lull, in that awful “Anything Else”-“Hollywood Ending”–“Melinda and Melinda” period. So Mia wasn’t focused on him. She probably thought he was over. Allen’s career was energized in 2006 with “Match Point” and then started to pick up steam again. In 2008 came “Vicki Cristina Barcelona” and 2011 brought his biggest movie ever, “Midnight in Paris.” That’s probably when Farrow got motivated for new revenge.
Here’s the piece from January 2003:
Woody Allen‘s sons with Mia Farrow, neither of whom the director has seen in a decade, have chosen career paths with an ironic twist.
One of them has just received his master’s degree as a marriage and family counselor. The other intends to go to law school next year.
It’s almost like the ending of a great Woody Allen movie. Almost.
You may have seen the announcement last Sunday in the New York Times that 33-year-old Matthew Phineas Previn got married. He’s the Yale Law School-graduate son of Mia Farrow and composer André Previn.
He’s one of a dozen children Farrow claims in her family, some biological, some adopted. There have been plenty of jokes about Farrow and her brood over the years. I’m sure I’ve told some.
But I got a chance to have a real talk with her on Monday night at the premiere of Merchant-Ivory’s excellent new film, “Le Divorce.” (Farrow and Ismail Merchant, the producer, are great friends.)
I found Mia, an ethereal beauty still, to be extremely warm, serious and intelligent — not at all a “crazy” collector of abandoned children, but a real humanist, if you will.
What happened, you may wonder, to the three children Farrow had with Woody Allen? That would be Moses, Dylan and Satchel. I’ll start with the last.
Satchel, now known as Seamus, is 14 and about to start his senior year at Bard College. You read that right: college. Seamus is a genius, no kidding, and has fit in well with the students.
How he gets to Bard, which is on the Hudson River in Westchester County, N.Y., is the real story. Farrow drives him there every day from her home in Connecticut. This is no small commute.
“It’s an hour and a half each way,” she told me. “But I have to do it. I couldn’t send him on his own. When he was 11, he couldn’t just walk from class to class. I had to walk with him. Remember, he was 11, even though he was taking adult classes.”
Seamus started out strong, with an interest in medicine, but has turned to the law. He’ll be going to law school somewhere when he turns 16. Like all of Mia’s children, he is neither encouraged nor discouraged from seeing Allen.
“He doesn’t ask and we don’t talk about it. But think how strange it is for him,” Farrow said. “His sister is his step-mother? His father is his brother-in-law.”
Farrow is a good actress, but she did not mask her pain well. She winced as she drew that conclusion, something she’s no doubt mulled over in her head a million times. Eleven years doesn’t seem so long ago.
Dylan, who’s 18, is now known as Malone.
“She was Eliza for a while, but she changed it. I don’t know why, but maybe it was an Irish thing,” said Farrow.
Malone is looking at colleges now, and will start next year.
That leaves Moses, who is 24 and who just received his master’s degree in — what else —marriage family therapy from the University of Connecticut. He’s also married “to a great girl” who just graduated from college, Farrow said, .
That leaves the children who are at home, two who had rough births, and two who are disabled. There will be no more adoptions, however. This wasn’t a whim, as people have jested in the past.
“This was my dream,” Farrow said. “And when we were at the wedding, in the backyard, and everyone was there, and everyone was doing so well, that was something for me. It was my, I guess, hippie dream. And I felt very proud.”
Altogether, Farrow had 14 kids: three with Previn (twins Matthew and Sascha, and Fletcher), three adopted with Previn (Soon-Yi, Lark and Daisy), one with Allen (Seamus), two adopted while she was with Allen (Moses and Malone), and four more who she adopted after her relationship with Allen (Isaiah, Tam, Keili-Shea and Gabriel Wilk, who was named after the judge who presided over Farrow’s custody case with Allen, the late Elliot Wilk).
Sadly, Tam Farrow passed away at age 19 in 2000 from heart failure. Another child, a crack-cocaine addicted baby, died in infancy.
“I’m a grandmother,” she said, almost defiantly. It doesn’t seem possible.
Now Mia, who was so good in such Allen movies as “Alice,” “Broadway Danny Rose,” “Purple Rose of Cairo,” “Zelig” and “Hannah and Her Sisters,” is going back to work.
She’ll appear in a new play this fall at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Conn., called “Fran’s Bed,” directed by James Lapine and co-starring Harris Yulin, among others.
“It’s just coming together,” she said. This will be in addition to driving back and forth to Bard, and taking care of the kids who are still home.
As for Allen, there’s been no contact. Farrow has not seen any of his movies since making “Husbands and Wives” in 1992. When I mentioned “Bullets Over Broadway,” she said, “I never saw it.”
“Hannah and Her Sisters,” she said, “gives me a creepy feeling.” Her explanation, which I’m omitting here, is valid, although I still love that film and many people do.
Of “Zelig,” “Danny Rose” and “Purple Rose,” she said, “We called that our Rose period,” and for a minute she seemed almost nostalgic. Almost.