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Woody Allen was in fine form at the Cannes Film Festival today to talk about “Irrational Man,” his latest film that screened this morning, out of competition. The 79-year-old writer-director-actor was accompanied by two of the film’s stars, Emma Stone and Parker Posey, but it was Allen who held court during the 40-minute press conference, speaking on a number of topics including world philosophy, remaking his own work and his upcoming Amazon Studios TV series. Below are the top highlights from the discussion.
He Thinks Committing Murder is No Less Irrational Than Choosing a Religion
In “Irrational Man,” Joaquin Phoenix plays a mysterious philosophy professor who [spoiler alert] murders a stranger for ethically dubious reasons — hence the title [spoiler end]. Asked to comment on Abe’s actions, Allen said, “In everybody’s life, there are times when suddenly you realize that something momentous can possibly happen if you make a choice, if you make the right choice — great. In this case the choice that Joaquin makes is irrational. But it’s not so irrational given the comparison with the choices that we all make in our own lives. If you look at people… people need something to believe in, in their lives. They have to choose whether life is going to be meaningful or meaningless. People will choose religion in their lives, for example, and will make an irrational choice. They think that if they live a good life, they will die and go to heaven. That’s no less crazy a thought than Abe thinking that if he commits this act, his life will suddenly turn around for the better. As long as there’s something dedicated you believe in, you make a choice and you go with it. That’s the way that I see it.”
He Hasn’t Spoken With Cate Blanchett Since Her Oscar Win
Cate Blanchett won her second Oscar for Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” in 2014 and in the three years since, the two haven’t spoken. “It’s all very professional,” Allen explained. “I have not seen or spoken to Cate since that movie. It’s very professional. You come in and you shoot the film. The last day everybody is very teary, but then you go off and go on with your life.”
He Would Remake Every Film of His If He Could
“I would shoot them all over if I could,” Allen said about his body of work. “Charlie Chaplin had [more] luxury. He’d look at it and study it and shoot it again and again if he wanted to. Films were not that costly; it was very simple. I can’t do that. When I make the film, I never ever look at it again once I put it out. Because if you look at it again, you can always see what you did wrong, how you could improve it and why it’s terrible as it is. I could very happily take any movie I have and improve it if I could get the cast back.”
He Regrets Signing on for the Amazon Studios TV Series
“It was catastrophic mistake for me,” Allen said of agreeing to make a TV series for Amazon Studios. “I’m doing my best with it. I’m struggling with it at home. But I never should have gotten into it. It’s very hard for me. I thought it was going to be easy. You do a movie, it’s a big long thing. But to do six half-hours! It’s very, very hard. I just hope I don’t disappoint Amazon. I’m not good at it. I don’t watch any of those television series, so I don’t know what I’m doing — I’m floundering. It’s going to be a cosmic embarrassment.”
He Makes Movies to Distract Himself
Allen said that worrying if he can execute a scene successfully is a “trivial problem.” “If I don’t solve it, it’s going to be a bad movie but I won’t die. That’s why I do it. I distract myself… making movies is a wonderful distraction. I’m not thinking about my death, the decaying of my body, that I will be old one day in a very distant future.”
He Wanted to Work With Parker Posey Because of Her Name
“I’ve always wanted to work with the actor Parker Posey ’cause I like the name Parker Posey,” Allen joked. “I would see her in all the offbeat movies and she was always great, and I thought, ‘Will I ever get to go to the set and say, ‘Where is Parker Posey?’ And then I got an opportunity to work with her.”
READ MORE: Cannes Review: Woody Allen’s ‘Irrational Man’ Will Keep Fans Happy
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