“Woody Wednesday” Trivia about Woody Allen Part 11

Sleeper (1973) – Trailer

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopelessmeaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of his own secular view. I salute him for doing that. That is why I have returned to his work over and over and presented my own Christian worldview as an alternative.

My interest in Woody Allen is so great that I have a “Woody Wednesday” on my blog www.thedailyhatch.org every week. Also I have done over 30 posts on the historical characters mentioned in his film “Midnight in Paris.” (Salvador Dali, Ernest Hemingway,T.S.Elliot,  Cole Porter,Paul Gauguin,  Luis Bunuel, and Pablo Picasso were just a few of the characters.) Check out these trivia facts below.

Here is some trivia about Woody Allen:

To me, there’s no real difference between a fortune teller or a fortune cookie and any of the organized religions. They’re all equally valid or invalid, really. And equally helpful.

Well, I’m against [the aging process]. 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 [You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010)], 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.

If my films don’t show a profit, I know I’m doing something right.

[on the controversy surrounding his marriage to Soon-Yi] What was the scandal? I fell in love with this girl, married her. We have been married for almost 15 years now. There was no scandal, but people refer to it all the time as a scandal. I kind of like that in a way because when I go I would like to say I had one juicy scandal in my life.

My films have developed over the years. They’ve gone from films that started out as strips of jokes and funny gags to more character-oriented things – slightly deeper stories where I’ve sacrificed some laughs. And sometimes I’ve tried to make serious pictures without any laughs at all. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010) is probably a film I wouldn’t have been able to make 20 years ago, because I feel I wouldn’t have had the depth to make it. I’m forever pessimistic about everything in life, except my work. I feel that my best work is still to come, and I keep working and trying. It may be foolish and misplaced optimism, but nevertheless I’m optimistic. I feel I’ve always progressed. I’ve always made the film I wanted to make that year, and the films I made later were better than the ones I made earlier. Manhattan (1979) and Annie Hall (1977) were quite popular, but they were not as good as, say, Match Point (2005), which was a better film than both of those films. Midnight in Paris (2011) I think will be seen as a better film. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) is a better film than those I made years ago. But it’s capricious. I get an idea for a film and I do it, and if I’m right in my judgment, and in execution, then the film turns out to be a good film, a step forward. If I guessed wrong and I thought the idea was wonderful and it’s really not, or I execute badly, then the film is not such a good film. But it doesn’t have anything to do with the chronology. [2011]

I think universal harmony is a pipedream and it may be more productive to focus on more modest goals, like a ban on yodeling.

Not only does my play have no redeeming social value, it has no entertainment value. I wrote this sprightly little one-acter only to test out my new paper shredder. If there is any positive message at all in the narrative, it is that life is a tragedy filled with suffering and despair and yet some people do manage to avoid jury duty.

I’ve always felt close to a European sensibility. It’s a happy accident: when I was a young man and most impressionable, all these great European films were flooding New York City. I was very influenced by those films. I comes out in my work without trying to. It’s like if you grow up hearing Mozart your whole life at home and you start to write music, probably what comes out – until you develop your own style – is an imitation of Mozart, to some degree. And that’s what happened with me and films. I’ve very often relied on European cinema as a crutch or as a guide. The films I grew up with – Bergman and Fellini and Kurosawa and De Sica and Antonioni – just left an indelible mark on me. It’s the same with certain American films that impressed me as a young boy, like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) and Citizen Kane (1941) and Double Indemnity (1944). There have been very few American films since that have equalled the impact those films had on me, because I do think the time you see them figures into it. Consequently my films have been well appreciated in Europe, more than the United States, where it’s been so-so.

[on Stardust Memories (1980)] I wanted to make a stylish film. Gordon Willis and I liked to work in black and white and I wanted to make a picture about an artist who theoretically should be happy. He has everything in the world – health, success, wealth, notoriety – but in fact he doesn’t have anything, he’s very unhappy. The point of the story is that he can’t get used to the fact that he’s mortal and that all his wealth and fame and adulation are not going to preserve him in any meaningful way – he, too, will age and die. At the beginning of the movie you see him wanting to make a serious statement even though he is really a comic filmmaker. Of course, this part is naturally identified with me even though the tale is total fabrication. I never had the feelings of the protagonist in real life. When I made Stardust Memories I didn’t feel I was a much adored filmmaker whose life was miserable and all around me things were terrible. I thought I was a respectable moviemaker and the perks of success – as I said in my film Celebrity (1998) – actually outweighed the downside. I was never blocked, conflicted much, or steeped in gloom – though I often played that character. I did it again later in Deconstructing Harry (1997). That character is also a writer but nothing like me. I wanted to make Stardust Memoies stylish. It’s a dream film; the attempt is poetic. I’m not saying it comes off but the intent is poetic, so you’re not locked in to a realistic story. You could certainly tell a realistic story about a guy who has everything and is unhappy but I was trying to do it on a more fantastic level. I feel if you give the film a chance, there are some rewards in it. It’s dense. I haven’t seen it in many years, but when I finished it I was very satisfied with it and it was my favorite film to that time.

[on Shadows and Fog (1991)] I think I did a good job directing it and Santo Loquasto‘s sets are beautiful. But the picture is in the writing and people weren’t interested in the story. You know when you’re doing a black-and-white picture that takes place in a European city at night in the twenties, you’re not going to make big bucks. Nobody liked the picture. Carlo Di Palma won an award for it in Italy. It just looked great. There was pleasure in the way it was photographed, and in making it. I make these films to amuse myself, or should I say to distract myself. I wanted to see what it would be like making a film all on a set, outdoors being indoors. And setting it during one night and having all these characters and this old European quality to it. The hope is that others will enjoy it when I’m finished. It fulfilled that desire that keeps me working, that keeps me in the film business. I do all my films for my own personal reasons, and I hope that people will like them and I’m always gratified when I hear they do. But if they don’t, there’s nothing I can do about that because I don’t set out to make them for approval – I like approval, but I don’t make them for approval.

[on Anything Else (2003)] The cast is wonderful and I thought it was an interesting story and full of good jokes and good ideas. Somebody said it summed up everything that I always say in movies – they were saying this positively – and maybe it did and that was a negative for me. I don’t know. I had screening of it and people seemed to love it. Again, it was one of those pictures that nobody came to. You know, a lot of it is the luck of the draw with someone like me. I’m review-dependent. You hit a guy who likes the film and writes a good review of it, it might possibly do business. The exact same film, if that reviewer’s sick that day and the other critic on the paper doesn’t like it, then it doesn’t do business. There are many, many people making films who are not review-dependent and it doesn’t matter what anybody says about them, they have an audience. I only have to mention Spider-Man (2002). With me, it depends who’s writing the review. But I did think Anything Else was a funny movie. I thought it was a good movie. I was crazy about Christina [Ricci], and Jason [Biggs] was adorable and Stockard Channing is always a really strong actress.

My sets are boring. Nothing exciting ever happens, and I barely talk to the actors.

[Directing’]s a great loafer’s job. Much less stressful than if I were running around delivering chicken sandwiches in a deli somewhere.

[To Stu Hample on developing the comic strip “Inside Woody Allen”] Need more character engagement – instead of jokes being free-floating, they must be jokes on the way to character development. Jokes are like the decorations on the Christmas tree – but it’s a beautiful tree you need to start with. Only then can you hang baubles on it. (Sorry for the disgusting metaphor.)

Life is full of misery, loneliness and suffering – and it’s all over much too soon.

I finished writing the script [for To Rome with Love (2012)] and saw that there was a part that I could play. I never force it. I never write something for myself. I’m trying to be faithful to the idea. If I had made To Rome with Love in the United States, I could have played Roberto Benigni‘s part. If I was fifty years younger, I would have played Jesse Eisenberg‘s part. Right now, I’m reduced to fathers of fiancees.

[on playing his screen persona] It’s effortless. It’s the only thing I can do. I’m not an actor. I can’t play Chekhov, I can’t play Shakespeare or Strindberg. I can do that thing that I do. There’s a few different kinds of things I can act credibly. I can play an intellectual or a low-life.

Related posts:

I love the movie “Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen and I have done over 30 posts on the historical characters mentioned in the film. Take a look below:

“Midnight in Paris” one of Woody Allen’s biggest movie hits in recent years, July 18, 2011 – 6:00 am

(Part 32, Jean-Paul Sartre)July 10, 2011 – 5:53 am

 (Part 29, Pablo Picasso) July 7, 2011 – 4:33 am

(Part 28,Van Gogh) July 6, 2011 – 4:03 am

(Part 27, Man Ray) July 5, 2011 – 4:49 am

(Part 26,James Joyce) July 4, 2011 – 5:55 am

(Part 25, T.S.Elliot) July 3, 2011 – 4:46 am

(Part 24, Djuna Barnes) July 2, 2011 – 7:28 am

(Part 23,Adriana, fictional mistress of Picasso) July 1, 2011 – 12:28 am

(Part 22, Silvia Beach and the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore) June 30, 2011 – 12:58 am

(Part 21,Versailles and the French Revolution) June 29, 2011 – 5:34 am

(Part 16, Josephine Baker) June 24, 2011 – 5:18 am

(Part 15, Luis Bunuel) June 23, 2011 – 5:37 am

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In 2009 interview Woody Allen talks about the lack of meaning of life and the allure of younger women

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“Woody Allen Wednesdays” can be seen on the www.thedailyhatch.org

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 If you like Woody Allen films as much as I do then join me every Wednesday for another look the man and his movies. Below are some of the posts from the past: “Woody Wednesday” How Allen’s film “Crimes and Misdemeanors makes the point that hell is necessary […]

Woody Allen on the Emptiness of Life by Toby Simmons

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]

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