“It predated me, and now that it is in litigation, I can’t make any comments on it at all,” the Amazon Studios boss added, also dodging responses to the fate of Allen’s completed but shelved Rainy Day in New York film at the center of the suit.
The film, starring Jude Law, Selena Gomez, Elle Fanning, Diego Luna, Liev Schreiber and Timothée Chalamet, was part of Allen and Amazon’s four-picture deal inked in 2017 kicked to the curb last year. The Oscar-winning director is now hoping to squeeze about $68 million in compensation out of Amazon for the scotched contract, which went south resurfaced amid allegations of Allen engaging in improper sexual conduct with his daughter Dylan Farrow decades ago.
NBC vet Salke was officially named to the Amazon Studios top job on February 9 last year. After some back and forth among the parties, the big-bucks deal with Allen was officially canceled in June 2018.
“Amazon has tried to excuse its action by referencing a 25-year-old baseless allegation against Mr. Allen, but that allegation was already well-known to Amazon (and the public) before Amazon entered into four separate deals with Mr. Allen—and in any event, it does not provide a basis for Amazon to terminate the contract,” reads the suit, which seeks a jury trial.
Lacking a morals clause, the lucrative deal for the Annie Hall director was earmarked by former Amazon Studios boss Roy Price after Allen’s Crisis In Six Scenes limited series launched on the streamer in 2016. Price was suspended and eventually resigned in late 2017 after an incident of sexual harassment against The Man in the High Castle EP Isa Dick Hackett became public.
Salke and her top TV lieutenants Albert Chang and Vernon Sanders were onstage Wednesday during Amazon’s sessions on the final day of the winter TCA. A sizzle reel of Amazon Prime Video’s greatest hits, past, current and future, was shown during the presentation.
“It’s been a really busy year at Amazon Studios,” Salke told the TCA crowd. The exec teased the forthcoming Lord of the Ring series, and announced a third season of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan and an overall deal for Marvelous Mrs. Maisel creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her partner Daniel Palladino. “In the last year we’ve worked really hard to establish Amazon as the best home for talent,” she said.