Comedian Louis C.K. has been making us laugh through his show Louie and through his stand up. But he's no stranger to controversy - both professionally and personally. And with one single film, he's able to nail both.
Rumors that C.K. is fond of masturbating in front of female comedians have been whispered, and, as of late, are being yelled. “It’s Louis C.K., locking the door and masturbating in front of women comics and writers. I can’t tell you—I’ve heard so many stories,” says Rosanne Barr.
Recently, comedian Tig Notaro called on C.K. to "handle" his sexual misconduct rumors. “I think it’s important to take care of that, to handle that, because it’s serious to be assaulted,” said Notaro. “It’s serious to be harassed. It’s serious, it’s serious, it’s serious.”
C.K. has refused to address the rumors. “I don’t care about that. That’s nothing to me. That’s not real,” said C.K. when asked about the rumors. “You can’t touch stuff like that. There’s one more thing I want to say about this, and it’s important: If you need your public profile to be all positive, you’re sick in the head. I do the work I do, and what happens next I can’t look after. So my thing is that I try to speak to the work whenever I can. Just to the work and not to my life.”
But even though C.K. refuses to address the accusations of misconduct in his own personal life directly, he indirectly discuses the accusations made against Woody Allen. C.K. recently surprised everyone with a secret film called I Love You, Daddy. The plot might sound a little bit familiar...
I Love You, Daddy premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Before the film's release, only a few details about the film were made known. In the film, C.K. would play a successful TV writer in a showbiz comedy shot in black and white. Other than that, audiences were in the dark. Allegedly, the film was so secret that not even C.K.'s publicist knew about the film's existence.
It was pretty easy for the auteur to keep the film a secret. I Love You, Daddy was written, directed and edited by C.K. It was also self-funded. The film was shot on film, and displays signs of a shoestring budget. Some of the sound is spotty and there are visible boom mics in some shots.
In I Love You, Daddy, C.K. plays a TV writer who idolizes a 68-year-old director played by John Malkovich. The director is rumored to be a pedophile, however the TV writer is unfazed. That is, until the director starts dating the TV writer's daughter who is 17. The film literally asks, "What if it was your daughter?"
Critics have been drawing comparisons between I Love You, Daddy and Allen's 1979 film, Manhattan. In Manhattan, Allen plays a 42-year-old television writer. His love interest? A 17-year-old girl. Both films are shot in black and white, and I Love You, Daddy seems to emulate Manhattan stylistically.
While Malkovich doesn't do an Allen impression in the film, he still manages to conjure up Allen. Through his mannerisms, through his clothes, Malkovich suggests Allen in his performance. As The AV Club states in their review of the film, "The guy can go on and on about how he wants to sleep with an underage girl and still make everyone feel stupid for thinking that he’s trying to."
The comparisons to Manhattan aren't lost on C.K. "Woody and I are both people that love New York City and love black and white films, so we’re both seeing the same cinematic conclusion. So, to me, there were some times where I felt like this feels like Manhattan – and I thought, well, let it in. Don’t try, don’t resist, it’s okay," said C.K. in an interview with Uproxx.
While C.K. acknowledges that the film conjures up Allen's Manhattan, hehas argued that the film also has similarities to Raging Bull. Additionally, the filmmaker stated that Malkovich's character is closer to Roman Polanski or Sumner Redstone. "I mean, the guy doesn’t bear a lot of resemblance to Woody, to me. He’s an eccentric and he’s cagey and then he’s able to slide into warmth when he wants to and become a cold wall when he wants to. I don’t think that’s him at all. He’s very different," said C.K.
At it's core, I Love You, Daddy discusses what it means to admire an artist, only to have that admiration altered by rumors of sexual misconduct. Fans of Allen and Billy Cosby have recently had to grapple with the fact that their heroes might have behaved more than a little un-heroically once the cameras stopped rolling. Ironically, it is a situation that C.K. finds himself in.
The secret film won't be a secret for very much longer. The film was purchased by distributor The Orchard for $5 million. I Love You, Daddy was the priciest purchase to come out of the Toronto Film Festival, tied with the Tonya Harding biopic I, Tonya.