If you were to spot two members of Hollywood’s elite chatting over lunch at New York City hotspot Via Carota, what do you think they’d be chatting about? If you guessed, “Maybe they’re discussing how much they love Woody Allen?”, you’d be, in this instance, correct. Scarlett Johannson was recently a guest on her agent’s husband’s podcast and used her rare press appearance to once again praise the director non grata.
Johannson was Bruce Bozzi’s first interview for Table for Two, his new podcast that takes place “over the romance of a meal at one of his favorite restaurants” wherein he “interviews a special guest and seeks to untangle the intricate web of power and fame.” You might recognize Bozzi from his regular drop-ins on BFF Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live, or maybe you’re familiar with him from his years-long position as VP of his family’s Hollywood-centric venture, the Palm Restaurant Group.
The two old friends kicked off the interview by diving right into a chummy story about Johansson’s favorite director who, she says, has a “God-level” status in Barcelona. Consider me an atheist! (Of course, they brush over why he might not possess similar divine rankings in the U.S.) She went on to describe an on-set giggle-fest that she, Allen, and the cast and crew of Vicky Cristina Barcelona had over the phrase “spotted dick.” “He couldn’t keep it together,” she described of the truly inconsequential encounter. “It took a couple takes and was like, giggles, giggles, giggle.”
So inconsequential was the anecdote I had to rewind the podcast twice to determine if it offered any insight about the infamous director that I wasn’t picking up on. It didn’t. It was just Johansson discussing her old friend, a man she’s had to clarify her supportive comments about a number of times, only to reiterate that she…supports him. “I love Woody, I believe him, and I would work with him anytime,” she told The Hollywood Reporter in 2019. Old habits, it seems, really die hard. No lesson learned.
And as if that anecdote wasn’t indicative enough of the crystalline bubble she floats around in, 20 minutes later in their conversation, Bozzi re-emphasizes his appreciation for Allen: “I’m an epically huge fan of this man’s work—he’s romanticized a city that I love, that he loves, that you love.” Wow, love wins, I guess. OR Sorry Barcelona, seems like this corner of NYC is hovering near your title as number one city that loves Woody!
What’s more, is that the two discuss Johannson’s early ingénue roles in films like Lost In Translation and Ghost World, and how she worked to pivot from that trajectory. (Though admittedly, it seems like the inevitable march of time usually takes care of that for women anyway.) “I was being groomed in a way to be… a bombshell type of actor,” she explained. “I was playing the other woman, the object of desire, and I found myself cornered in this place and I couldn’t get out of it.”
Unfortunately, in my quick research of Allen, I was reminded that in his memoir, which was published in 2020, he described Johansson at that young age as, not only “gifted and beautiful, but sexually she was radioactive.” Is this not the grooming (such a loaded word for Johansson to casually use, by the way) type of attention she’s decrying? Of course, these smaller hypocrisies—ignoring the ways Allen has perpetuated a stereotype she’s worked to build a career outside of—layer atop one another to create a veil thick enough to cast out the blinding light of the much more serious allegations against Allen.
Bozzi might describe his podcast as an attempt to “untangle the intricate web of power and fame” but after listening to the episode, I can say that not only does the tangled web remain pretty intact, but the venomous spider still sits pretty comfortably at its center.