The veteran filmmaker spoke with ET’s Lauren Zima on the red carpet at the 2019 Critics’ Choice Awards, briefly addressing the recent revelation that he used to expose himself to cast and crew members as a joke.
“You learn, you grow. You try to become a better person,” he explained when asked about how he’s handled the backlash. “It’s all ultimately about the movie and that’s what we hope people see. I love this movie. I think it’s special.”
In a statement, the 62-year-old director previously apologized for flashing himself: “I was an idiot. I did this decades ago and I thought I was being funny and the truth is I’m embarrassed and it makes me cringe now. I’m deeply sorry.”
Farrelly went on to tell ET that finding himself at the center of a media firestorm has been a serious lesson for him after the story resurfaced of his troubling on-set behavior.
“It’s been quite a trip, the whole thing, I’ve got to say,” he said. “When we got into this whole thing … I didn’t know about this whole world. I’ve never made a movie for awards. So to be in the middle of it all is a real eye-opener.”
Green Book’s director isn’t the only participant who’s found himself at the center of controversy. While in the middle of a screening in LA, the film’s co-star Viggo Mortensen said the N-word while discussing social progress in the U.S. Mortensen has since issued an apology for the comment.
Additionally, one of the film’s screenwriters, Nick Vallelonga, has recently apologized and deleted his Twitter account after an old tweet resurfaced containing an anti-Muslim comment.
“I want to apologize. I spent my life trying to bring this story of overcoming differences and finding common ground to the screen, and I am incredibly sorry to everyone associated with Green Book,” wrote Vallelonga. “I especially deeply apologize to the brilliant and kind Mahershala Ali, and all members of the Muslim faith, for the hurt I have caused.”
Farrelly also discussed Vallelonga’s PR derailment while on the red carpet on Sunday.
“Nick’s good. He just wanted to take a step back and not be a distraction right now,” he shared. “He’s not feeling good about it, of course. None of us are. But it’s a growing and a learning experience. For him and a lot of people.”
Green Book was once considered a serious Oscar contender — it won three Golden Globes including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy — but it now finds itself as something of a long shot as scandals mount.
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