The cast of “To Rome With Love” were walking in a single-file line, until Woody Allen stopped them: “I want to walk behind you, Alec,” he said to his co-star.
At New York’s Park Regency Hotel, Alec Baldwin, Greta Gerwig, Penélope Cruz, Ellen Page, Alessandra Mastronardi and — of course — Woody took to the stage to promote their upcoming comedy, “To Rome With Love.” But it was Allen who did all the talking.
His talented cast sat quietly (and a pinch bored), occasionally sharing their own esteem for the director. Picking up laughs with the smallest gesture, “Mr. Allen” or “Woody” — neither seemed right to the ear — fielded questions about his movies, acting, relationships and technology.
Below, are nine of the funniest quotes from today’s press conference.
No one asks Woody Allen to act in their films
“I’ve always been opened to acting in other people’s films, but no one has ever asked me to be in their film…two or three times I’ve been asked and I’ve always said yes. But it’s been two or three times in, I don’t know, 30 years or more than that. So when John Turturro asked me if I’d be in ‘Fading Gigolo,’ a film that he was shooting in New York City, I said sure because no one ever asked me so I was happy to do it…”
The financial success of “Midnight in Paris” is a complete mystery to him.
“It’s no more appealing of a picture than ‘Vicky Christina Barcelona’ or ‘Match Point’ or ‘Annie Hall’ or ‘Husbands and Wives.’ To me, they all have the same appeal, or lack of appeal.”
Woody Allen hates being asked about his “muses.”
“When I walk through those red carpet things, the amount of times that I get asked, and have been asked, is ‘Scarlett Johansson your new muse?’ ‘Is Penelope Cruz your new muse?’… If I make one picture with somebody, they assume that I have a muse and that I want a muse, and that person wants to be my muse… There’s millions of questions that I could give you that are really, really stupid.”
The editing process is very distressing.
“The editing of the film, for me, you know, you start off with very great ambitions, you know, like, ‘Citizen Kane,’ and then you shoot the film and then you get into the editing room, you realize that you screwed up so irredeemably that you just, you edit the film in any configuration to avoid embarrassment. The editing process becomes the floundering of a drowning man… For me, from the start of my career, from the first movie I ever did, ‘Take the Money and Run,’ it was a fight for survival in the editing room. It’s not simply that you’re — not for me — that you go in there and you got various themes and you’re going to edit the thing like it’s Potemkin or something. It doesn’t work that way… I’m just in there just selling out left and right…the ounce of integrity I have, and editing to survive.”
Woody Allen doesn’t think technology really affects relationships.
“It’s making it electronically quicker to break up. It’s not really affecting the real content, it’s just the cosmetics — you meet people quicker, you can lose people quicker. But, you know, it doesn’t really affect anything significant. You’re still going to have trouble. It’s a sad situation for everybody and the electronics, you know, just facilitates the anxiety.”
Intellectuals are funny to him.
“I’m not an intellectual at all. But intellectuals are amusing and so when I write, I write about them in comic dilemmas and in comic situations. If I was pressed as an intellectual, I would be dead. But, as a writer, just making jokes about them, I can do that as something that interests me, because for whatever reason — whatever accident — I happen to find that part of the social milieu amusing and so it always seems to come out inadvertently in everything I do.”
Alec Baldwin almost quoted “Annie Hall.”
“He’s on an island of his own in terms of filmmaking…”
Penelope Cruz had a very peculiar meeting with Woody for “Vicky Christina Barcelona.”
“I went into his office and immediately you feel you are into Woody’s World because everything is so unique…The meeting was 30 seconds long and he told me, ‘Well, nice to meet you, I you would be great in this role, [I’ll] see you on set’ and I left and I never saw him again until we were on-set…”
Woody Allen’s films have really affected Greta Gerwig, who also almost quoted “Annie Hall.”
“I learned what books to read by references… like, ‘Death in Venice,’ I read that because it was mentioned… I wouldn’t live in New York if it weren’t for his movies and I wouldn’t have wanted to be an actor, if it weren’t for his movies.”
“To Rome With Love” hits theaters June 22.
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