While his work ethic hasn’t paused for a single moment, Woody Allen has lately been more content to work behind the camera rather than act in front of it. While he does have a role in John Turturro‘s upcoming “Fading Gigolo,” the writer/director has been fairly selective about appearing in his own films, letting six years pass between “Scoop” and “To Rome With Love.” But not that he hasn’t thought about it, and it turns out one of his “Blue Jasmine” stars may be inspiring him to act again. And it’s a pairing we’d certainly endorse.
Chatting with the New York Times, Allen doesn’t hold back on the praise for Louis C.K., and reveals that it was while he was casting Bobby Cannavale for “Blue Jasmine,” that he discovered the comic actor. “I didn’t know Louis C.K. at all. But someone showed me a tape of Bobby Cannavale – it was to see Bobby Cannavale, and he was in a skit with Louis C.K. Cannavale, I thought, yes, he’s great and right for this part. And I said but who’s that guy with him? He’s wonderful,” Allen explained. “So we had him originally for the Andrew Dice Clay part. And he read it, and he read it very well. We thought, he’s so likeable. He’s clearly such a sweet guy. I was dying to use him in something, so we used him to play the sweeter guy. I’d love to do a movie with him and me, a comedy. I’m looking for some idea that would work, for the two of us to do. Of course I hope that people aren’t disappointed that I don’t act with him [in “Blue Jasmine”], and he doesn’t have a commensurately comic part with his talent. But some day, I will get something that we could do together, because I do think it would be fun. I’m such a great fan of his.”
Undoubtedly, Louis C.K. must be thrilled that Allen — who has clearly been an influence, particularly on episodes of “Louie” — is taken with his skill, but the first attempt to pen something for the duo, didn’t quite work out. “When I finished [‘Blue Jasmine’], I went into my room and thought, ‘What would be a fun picture? My first thought for a while was, ‘Can I come up with something at the moment that I could do with Louis C.K.?’ But I wasn’t able to get the right idea, and time was starting to move,” Allen said. “And I thought, well, here’s an idea that would make a very fun movie, so I started writing it, and I finished it, and I thought, this is a perfect movie for Colin Firth and Emma Stone, so that’s what I did.”
And that film is currently gearing up, with Eileen Atkins, Marcia Gay Harden, Hamish Linklater, Simon McBurney, Jacki Weaver, Jeremy Shamos and Erica Leerhsen also slated for roles. And while plot details have largely been kept under wraps, The Film Stage did some diggin and learned the film will take place in 1920s and 1930s era in France.
Anyway, we’ll have to keep waiting to see if/when the Allen/C.K. picture ever happens. But it appears the 77 year-old Allen still has few surprises up his sleeve — he’s thinking about returning to stand-up comedy. He recalled recently seeing legendary comic Mort Sahl perform at the Carlyle Hotel (where Allen plays weekly with his jazz band), and he became inspired to get back on the stage.
“Watching him, I had the same feeling now, in 2013, as I had when I saw him in 1950-something. Of, ‘Hey, I’d like to get back onstage and do standup again.’ He inspired me then to be a standup comic, and all these years later, I thought of it again because of him. He makes that phenomenon so enticing,” Allen said, confirming he’s thought about putting together a tour for himself. “I was thinking of it. Since I saw him, I’ve just been toying with the idea. I would love to see if I could. Just getting together an hour of stuff to talk about would be a lot of work.”
So, Woody Allen + Louis C.K. and/or a stand-up show? Yes, to both please. “Blue Jasmine” opens on July 26th. Watch the scene that turned Allen on to both Louis C.K. and Cannavale below.