Very cool interview with Woody Allen (9/15/2010)
How do you feel about the aging process?
A. Well, I’m against it. [laughs] I think it has nothing to recommend it. You don’t gain any wisdom as the years go by. You fall apart, is what happens. People try and put a nice varnish on it, and say, well, you mellow. You come to understand life and accept things. But you’d trade all of that for being 35 again. I’ve experienced that thing where you wake up in the middle of the night and you start to think about your own mortality and envision it, and it gives you a little shiver. That’s what happens to Anthony Hopkins at the beginning of the movie, and from then on in, he did not want to hear from his more realistic wife, “Oh, you can’t keep doing that — you’re not young anymore.” Yes, she’s right, but nobody wants to hear that.
Has getting older changed your work in any way? Do you see a certain wistfulness emerging in your later films?
A. No, it’s too hit or miss. There’s no rhyme or reason to anything that I do. It’s whatever seems right at the time. I’ve never once in my life seen any film of mine after I put it out. Ever. I haven’t seen “Take the Money and Run” since 1968. I haven’t seen “Annie Hall” or “Manhattan” or any film I’ve made afterward. If I’m on the treadmill and I’m scooting through the channels, and I come across one of them, I go right past it instantly, because I feel it could only depress me. I would only feel, “Oh God, this is so awful, if I could only do that again.”
Q. You recently told the European press that shooting movies in New York had become too expensive. Do you think you’ve made your last film here?
A. My first choice would always be New York. It would be my fondest wish — to work where you live is of course the most luxurious privilege, and I’m sure I will film here again. But the few dollars I have go further in certain places. The cities I’m talking about — London, Paris, Barcelona — these are very cosmopolitan, and they’re like New York. I can afford it a little bit easier. To me it’s a privilege to shoot in New York, and I don’t mind it being extra. I just have to have it, to be able to afford it. I would always make the picture in New York for $15 million that I could make elsewhere for $12 million, if I had $15 million. But if I don’t have the money, then I can’t do it.
Q. It’s not a situation in which these European cities have rolled out the red carpet for you, whereas New York took you for granted?
A. New York has always been cooperative and helpful and a pleasure to shoot in. But the European countries do give you an enormous amount of cooperation. I still occasionally have to make cuts in my film to work there, too. I’m always working with less money than I need. It’s axiomatic.