Woody Allen: Allen the Anomaly

Woody Allen is famous for not wanting to talk about his films, which include his latest offering, Hollywood Ending. But who knew he doesn't see them either?


It's well known that Woody Allen doesn't like to talk about a movie he's working on, or even one that's finished and about to be released--which in this case is Hollywood Ending, starring Téa Leoni, Debra Messing, Treat Williams, Scott Wolf, Mark Rydell, Tiffani Thiessen and Woody himself. "I always feel that people should come in and judge the movie on its merits," says Allen, "and if they like it, they like it, and if they don't, they don't. I never like to be the one to say, 'Oh, you'll love this' or 'This is hilarious,' because it's not for me to say. I have no objectivity about those things." Needless to say, Hollywood Ending is set in New York, and it's a comedy, just like most of the other dozens of films Allen has made.

But Allen also hates to talk about movies he's made long ago. For that matter, he doesn't even see movies again once he's finished them. "I haven't seen my first film, Take the Money and Run, since I made it in 1968," he attests. "I film it, I see it enough when I film it, when I put it together and during the editing phase. Then when it's finished, I turn it loose to the audience. I just never wanna see it again," he says. "I only see the mistakes and the bad parts. I'll feel, 'Oh, God, how embarrassing, if I could only do that over.' And of course I can't do it over. So I'd just as soon not be embarrassed. Or at least not think about it." Not that he can't be painfully self-critical with nothing but memory to go on--he claims to be "very displeased with" Manhattan, one of his most highly regarded films.

If looking back at films is agonizing for Allen, what's it like when he's in the process of making one? "The only real problem I ever have is, you know, in bad writing." But wouldn't that be his writing? "Yes, it's my writing. So if I make a mistake in the writing, which I do a reasonable portion of the time, no amount of good directing can save it."


Jillian O'Connor