Louis C.K. Is Buying ‘I Love You, Daddy’ Back From Distributor Following Sexual Harassment Scandal
After numerous women accused comedian Louis C.K. of sexual harassment, The Orchard immediately nixed plans to premiere and release the black-and-white film he shot in secret over the summer. I Love You, Daddy, which was set to hit theaters on November 17, was shelved as C.K. released a public statement acknowledging his history of predatory behavior with female peers and colleagues. C.K. has remained silent in the weeks since, but according to Deadline, the comedian and director is closing a deal to buy the rights to I Love You, Daddy back from the distributor.
C.K.’s latest film is a cringe-inducing movie about a TV producer (C.K.) who grows concerned when his teen daughter (Chloe Grace Moretz) begins dating an eccentric older director with a heavily-rumored fondness for young girls (John Malkovich). I Love You, Daddy, which is inspired by Woody Allen’s Manhattan, was meant to explore uncomfortable concepts like the conundrum of separating the art from the artist, through a story of a man who is forced to reconcile his personal morals with his affection for quite-possibly-creepy auteur — when said auteur begins dating his own daughter.
But as those old rumors of C.K. sexually harassing women became public allegations, I Love You, Daddy (which has been seen by both myself and our editor-in-chief, Matt Singer) suddenly took on a meta layer of ickiness. A character in the film mimes masturbating in front of a woman, evoking the allegations against C.K. himself, who forced women to watch him masturbate numerous times over the course of his career. That’s just one uncomfortable instance in a film that’s rife with them; what was once intended as a button-pushing piece of cinema meant to poke and prod the most tender spots on our moral compass had mutated into a film so cringe-inducing that I folded myself into a pretzel while watching it.
It’s unclear what C.K. will do with the film now that he’s acquiring the rights back from The Orchard, who paid $5 million for I Love You, Daddy following its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. It is entirely plausible that C.K. will sit on the movie for a while until he feels as though the negative attention has died down enough for him to quietly release it. He could very well do so on his website, either for free or at a small cost, as he did with the first season of Horace and Pete.
I’m not the only one who has seen I Love You, Daddy, however. As Deadline notes, C.K. is paying The Orchard an additional $500,000 to $1 million to cover marketing costs, which include 12,000 screener DVDs sent to awards voting groups, like the Golden Globes and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. That doesn’t include the number of online screeners that were made available to inquiring critics, such as myself, despite being told by representatives that screeners would no longer be sent out after The Orchard shelved the film.