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A rare interview with Woody Allen

by Danielle Berrin

June 14, 2012 | 5:00 pm

Woody Allen. Photo by Wikipedia/Colin Swan

I don’t know how she did it, but the Wall Street Journal’s Rachel Dodes got a one-on-one with Woody Allen. The young reporter met with the press-shy filmmaker last week at his New York office to discuss his upcoming release “To Rome With Love”, which premiered last month at the Cannes Film Festival. What she came away with is a rare, in-depth, albeit predictable dialogue with the prolific virtuoso whose latest film will serve as the opening night selection for the Jerusalem International Film Festival. It’s an ironic choice, of course, for Jerusalem, which attracts nearly 8,000 Israelis to their outdoor cinemafest under the stars (the film screens in a valley just outside the Old City), since Rome and Jerusalem have a rather sordid past (let’s just say the relationship suffered a serious setback when the Romans sacked and destroyed the Jews’ beloved Second Temple).

Among Allen’s usual pontificating about meaning and nothingness, his own perceived smallness and disinterest in modern mechanisms such as technology and movie reviews, there are some gems. On why he no longer casts himself as romantic lead: “I’m too old now, is the problem. I like to get the girl”; or why he’ll never retire: “If all the funding [for my films] dried up, I could always sit home on my bed and write”; or why he doesn’t appear on panels, at awards shows, or watch any of his movies after final cut: “It’s not healthy to either regret or luxuriate in stuff that’s in the past.”

Dodes: Some say your view is that life is pointless, and others say you’re a romantic realist who believes in being true to yourself. Which is it?

Allen: I think that’s the best you can do, but the true situation is a hopeless one because nothing does last. If we reduce it absurdly for a moment, you know the sun will burn out. You know the universe is falling apart at a fantastically accelerating rate and that at some point there won’t be anything at all. So whether you are Shakespeare or Beethoven or Michelangelo, your stuff’s not going to last. So, given that, even if you were immortal, that time is going to come. Of course, you have to deal with a much more critical problem, which is that you’re not going to last microscopically close to that. So, nothing does last. You do your things. One day some guy wakes up and gets the Times and says, “Hey, Woody Allen died. He keeled over in the shower singing. So, where do you want to have lunch today?”

Read the full interview at the Wall Street Journal

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Danielle Berrin writes the Hollywood Jew blog, a cutting edge, values-based take on the entertainment industry for jewishjournal.com. A Los Angeles Times profile dubbed her...

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