Woody Allen and producer-turned-defendant Jean Doumanian didn’t exactly patch up their friendship, but they did reach a settlement on Tuesday, bringing an abrupt end to the nine-day New York courtroom battle over the filmmaker’s contention that Doumanian cheated him out of $14 million. Terms of the out-of-court settlement were not disclosed.
Even as Allen accused Doumanian of accounting chicanery in her deals to produce eight of his recent movies (from 1994’s ”Bullets Over Broadway” to 2000’s ”Small Time Crooks”), he had hoped that he could maintain their 40-year friendship. He wrote her a note, saying, ”This was supposed to be amusing — like a Tracy-Hepburn movie — in court by day, friends by night!” But Allen’s testimony drove Doumanian to tears in the courtroom last week, and after the trial ended yesterday, when reporters asked her if she and Allen would still be on speaking terms, she shrugged her shoulders.
Doumanian had contended that she and her boyfriend and producing partner, Jacqui Safra, had done Allen a favor by financing his movies after his longtime studio Tri-Star got cold feet in the wake of the scandal over his break-up with Mia Farrow and his affair with her daughter, Soon-Yi Previn (now Allen’s wife). If anything, Doumanian and Safra had said, Allen’s low-grossing films meant he owed them money, not the other way around. But in their testimony on the stand, Doumanian and Safra said they couldn’t remember basic details of their financial agreements with the director.
The trial was a lot like one of Allen’s movies: Despite a lot of early media attention and some good one-liners (Judge Ira Gammerman to Allen: ”I’m the director here.”), few members of the public came to see it. But maybe it will be a big hit in France.