Woody Allen

Discussion and info on people in film, ranging from directors to actors to cinematographers to writers.

Moderator: DarkImbecile

Post Reply
Message
Author
Fielding
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 5:19 am

Re: Woody Allen

#301 Post by Fielding » Mon Feb 02, 2009 3:11 am

FerdinandGriffon wrote:I can safely say that his films have never had trouble finding fairly widespread distribution or large audiences in the USA
What are you babbling about? Vicky Cristina Barcelona is Woody Allen's most successful film in the US since Hannah and Her Sisters and it's still only made $23.1 million. The fact is that ever since Stardust Memories he's been regarded as an arthouse filmmaker, with the occasional breakout hit like Hannah, Match Point and VCB.

Of course, in reality Woody is a zillion times smarter than the arthouse set and far less pretentious.
Last edited by Fielding on Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
MichaelB
Posts: 12257
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: Woody Allen

#302 Post by MichaelB » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:23 am

Fielding wrote:Of course, in reality Woody is a zillion times smarter than the arthouse set and far less pretentious.
Fielding, have you ever expressed any opinion in these forums that can't be reduced to the phrase "Woody gives me a woody"?

Fielding
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 5:19 am

Re: Woody Allen

#303 Post by Fielding » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:08 pm

Nope. Should I have?

User avatar
FerdinandGriffon
Posts: 793
Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:16 am

Re: Woody Allen

#304 Post by FerdinandGriffon » Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:55 am

Fielding wrote:The fact is that ever since Stardust Memories he's been regarded as an arthouse filmmaker, with the occasional breakout hit like Hannah, Match Point and VCB.

Of course, in reality Woody is a zillion times smarter than the arthouse set and far less pretentious.
Let me get this straight; first you claim that Allen is an arthouse filmmaker, then you make a (ridiculous and dismissive) distinction between him and the arthouse filmmakers. Having our cake and eating it too, aren't we? You are aware of the fact that without arthouse staples like Godard and (especially) Bergman, Woody's oeuvre would look very different? I have no problem with people asserting that Allen is an excellent filmmaker, as he undoubtedly has been that at various points in his career. I watched Sleeper this weekend, and was surprised to find it even funnier and more ingenious than I remembered. However, it's patently false for Allen to claim that his films only play in "small university towns" and arthouse theaters.

Try watching this. It's a short film by Godard called Meetin' WA, primarily made up of an interview with Allen, but filled of course with various Godardian touches: intertitles, stills, a homage to Manhattan.The result is hysterical, not least because of Allen's obvious and growing discomfort with answering the older man's increasingly esoteric and theoretical questions.
http://www.dailymotion.com/Tomsutpen/vi ... in-wa-1986" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

User avatar
MichaelB
Posts: 12257
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: Woody Allen

#305 Post by MichaelB » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:07 am

FerdinandGriffon wrote:However, it's patently false for Allen to claim that his films only play in "small university towns" and arthouse theaters.
I can back this up from personal experience. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, it was the norm for his films to be released a few months later than their US outing, but when Husbands and Wives suddenly became a major international phenomenon (thanks to the attendant controversy over Mia Farrow and Soon-Yi Previn), its release was accelerated to the point when it opened more or less simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic.

This had the knock-on effect of displacing Shadows and Fog, the film's immediate predecessor, from the release schedules, and for a time it seemed as though the film wouldn't open theatrically in Britain at all. Although this isn't at all unusual for him now (Hollywood Ending and the ironically London-set Scoop didn't open in Britain, and I don't think they're the only ones), it would have been a first at the time.

Back then, I worked at an arthouse cinema with a very strong track record with Woody Allen films (we were right next door to London's biggest Jewish community, which helped enormously), and when news that Shadows and Fog might not open theatrically at all hit the trade papers, we got in touch with Columbia TriStar and said we'd be only too happy to premiere the film if no-one else wanted to. But Columbia decided that we were too "arthouse", and preferred to wait another few months (possibly as much as a year) for a more mainstream venue in central London.

In fact, for many years Allen's preferred London premiere venue was the Odeon Haymarket, which he presumably found appealing because it was very comfortable and had an intimate ambience - but there was nothing "arthouse" about it.

User avatar
Antoine Doinel
Posts: 5356
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:22 pm
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Contact:

Re: Woody Allen

#306 Post by Antoine Doinel » Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:37 am

I'm not sure why everyone is being so literal with regards to Allen's "arthouse" comment. Is he relegated to obscure campus screenings? No. But he's certainly not on 2500 screens on opening weekend, which I think is the point he was trying to drive home. While his films do appear in regular theaters, at least in Canada, they are part of the "art" selection of films. In Montreal, the AMC theater here has a program they call "AMC Select", which is basically about a half dozen or so non-mainstream, proto-arthouse films. Vicky Cristina Barcelona - and past, recent, Allen fare - was among that selection.

Also, no one is talking about studios "bundling" films, which I'm sure has been happening a lot in the latter part of Allen's career (ie. The Weinstein Company saying, "Sure, we'll give you five prints of Zack and Miri Make A Porno, but you have to give us a screen for Vicky Cristina Barcelona). Also, as I'm sure movie programmers will tell you, predicting the success of an Allen title is like blindfolded Russian roulette. In Montreal, VCB played for three months straight, while Scoop barely lasted two weeks and Cassandra's Dream didn't even get a theatrical run.

User avatar
The Fanciful Norwegian
Posts: 1636
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:24 pm
Location: Teegeeack

Re: Woody Allen

#307 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:24 pm

Antoine Doinel wrote:Also, no one is talking about studios "bundling" films, which I'm sure has been happening a lot in the latter part of Allen's career (ie. The Weinstein Company saying, "Sure, we'll give you five prints of Zack and Miri Make A Porno, but you have to give us a screen for Vicky Cristina Barcelona).
I dunno what it's like in Canada, but in the U.S. this practice (block-booking) has been illegal since 1948 (not that I necessarily trust Hollywood oligarchs to obey something as insignificant as a Supreme Court decision). But frankly I don't even think it's necessary to resort to forced (and therefore illegal) "bundling" -- most exhibitors these days (primarily chains with close links to the major media conglomerates) would probably take whatever TWC, Warner, Fox, etc. offer, no questions asked. But that's probably an issue for another thread.
Last edited by The Fanciful Norwegian on Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Antoine Doinel
Posts: 5356
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:22 pm
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Contact:

Re: Woody Allen

#308 Post by Antoine Doinel » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:35 pm

The Fanciful Norwegian wrote:
Antoine Doinel wrote:Also, no one is talking about studios "bundling" films, which I'm sure has been happening a lot in the latter part of Allen's career (ie. The Weinstein Company saying, "Sure, we'll give you five prints of Zack and Miri Make A Porno, but you have to give us a screen for Vicky Cristina Barcelona).
I dunno what it's like in Canada, but in the U.S. this practice (block-booking) has been illegal since 1948 (not that I necessarily trust Hollywood oligarchs to obey something as insignificant as a Supreme Court decision). But frankly I don't even think it's necessary to resort to forced (and therefore illegal) "bundling" -- most exhibitors these days (primarily chains with close links to the major media conglomerates) would probably take whatever TWC, Warner, Fox, etc. offer, no questions asked. But that's probably an issue for another thread.
Interesting, I thought it was still a common practice.

User avatar
The Fanciful Norwegian
Posts: 1636
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:24 pm
Location: Teegeeack

Re: Woody Allen

#309 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:42 pm

For all I know it is, but in the current media environment I'm not convinced it's needed. I do sort of wonder where things like "The After Dark Horrorfest" fall in the scheme of things (would it be possible for an exhibitor to do "3 Films to Die For" if they don't like the other five?).

User avatar
nsps
Posts: 496
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 4:25 am
Contact:

Re: Woody Allen

#310 Post by nsps » Wed Feb 04, 2009 12:58 am

From everything I've heard from those who do art-house booking, there's definitely a sense of "we're playing this low-profile film in the hopes of getting this bigger one later." In many cases, a multiplex chain could ask for the film, and have pull in theaters in other cities. So it's pretty important to have a good relationship with the distributors. I guess maybe they can never explicitly state it? Payola is illegal too, but that doesn't mean the record industry doesn't have ways of buttering up the radio stations.

User avatar
AWA
Posts: 310
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:32 pm
Location: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Contact:

Re: Woody Allen

#311 Post by AWA » Wed Feb 04, 2009 4:25 am

To the average person going to any cinema, Woody is "art house". He's more like brackish water though - too artistic and different to be at all considered mainstream and far too mainstream with his cast and modest production ambitions to be arthouse.

Anyways, getting back to the topic, it appears Woody will shoot in Paris in 2010, which of course means he'll be shooting a $22 million budgeted film in NYC this summer as the follow up to "Whatever Works", which is now slated for a summer release via Sony Pictures Classics. I hope Woody uses the large budget to fund one of his tastefully conceived period pieces, which he always does very well (cue people complaining about Jade Scorpion).

User avatar
Antoine Doinel
Posts: 5356
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:22 pm
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Contact:

Re: Woody Allen

#312 Post by Antoine Doinel » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:43 pm


User avatar
chaddoli
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 11:41 pm
Location: New York City
Contact:

Re: Woody Allen

#313 Post by chaddoli » Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:56 pm

Highway 61 wrote:have you heard anything about even the slightest possibility of Woody appearing in the 7th season of Curb Your Enthusiasm?
Don't know about this but no one is ever sure if Larry David will do another season (last season's finale would have been a very fine end of the series), it all depends on if he comes with a new idea for the season. And I believe the commencement of season 7 pretty much coincided with Larry working with Woody. So who knows? Maybe Woody will be a guest, or maybe the season will be about Larry starring in a movie, or maybe it'll be something totally unrelated.

User avatar
AWA
Posts: 310
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:32 pm
Location: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Contact:

Re: Woody Allen

#314 Post by AWA » Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:45 am

I never watch TV aside from hockey, so I haven't heard much but the occasional rumor, but apparently a 7th season is in production and the occasional Curb fan has popped up on the Whatever Works boards at IMDB (where I can be found posting under the name "romancingthegutter", though I stick to mostly Woody talk there) to suggest rumor has it the new season of Curb will center on Larry making a feature in NYC with Woody... which may or may not mean Woody is involved in making some cameos. But I am not certain.

Fielding
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 5:19 am

Re: Woody Allen

#315 Post by Fielding » Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:40 pm

Here's an excellent interview with Woody from the Irish Times.

I'm relieved he scoffed at Evan Rachel Wood's observation that Whatever Works is like Mighty Aphrodite.

User avatar
Antoine Doinel
Posts: 5356
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:22 pm
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Contact:

Re: Woody Allen

#316 Post by Antoine Doinel » Fri Feb 13, 2009 9:43 am

Really nice interview. My respect for him just went up a notch learning that he's not an Academy member by choice.

User avatar
Tom Hagen
Posts: 1668
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 12:35 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: Woody Allen

#317 Post by Tom Hagen » Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:07 pm

Antoine Doinel wrote:Really nice interview. My respect for him just went up a notch learning that he's not an Academy member by choice.
You have to love Woody on this particular score: blowing off the Oscars for years to play clarinet in his jazz band, the "Best Fascist Dictator: Adolf Hitler" line from Annie Hall, choosing to not vote at all.

User avatar
Antoine Doinel
Posts: 5356
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:22 pm
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Contact:

Re: Woody Allen

#318 Post by Antoine Doinel » Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:57 pm

Get your Woody Allen brooch.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Posts: 28722
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Woody Allen

#319 Post by domino harvey » Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:43 pm

Is it horrible that I'd consider buying that?

User avatar
chaddoli
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 11:41 pm
Location: New York City
Contact:

Re: Woody Allen

#320 Post by chaddoli » Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:06 am

You can't anyway. It's sold out.

User avatar
AWA
Posts: 310
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:32 pm
Location: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Contact:

Re: Woody Allen

#321 Post by AWA » Sun Mar 15, 2009 6:35 pm

Antoine Doinel wrote:I would not be surprised if MediaPro forced Pinto on him not only to get a young, hot, Oscar winner into the picture, but also to give the film a marketability in Asia that previous Allen films have never had. My guess is MediaPro ok-ed the $3 million and bumped the overall budget of the film, with the knowledge that their projected box office take will now be bigger with a whole new theatrical/DVD territory to take advantage of.
That is a possibility and makes sense - but that doesn't sound like something Woody would normally do - he's certainly had numerous "offers" of that kind that aim at getting a bigger overall box office return and not for artistic reasons and Woody has always turned them down... perhaps until now? He has never cared about making films to enhance his box office figures, much less making casting or any kind of artistic decision to do so. I really hope there is a journalist out there with a half a brain enough to see this and ask about it... but knowing how 99.9% of journalists who interview Woody don't know what to ask him about and how Woody lays his usual traps for them ("I haven't influenced anyone...", "I'm a lazy filmmaker...", "I'm not an intellectual...") that they fall right into and never get out of, I don't have high hopes for this becoming a news worthy item and it will likely take some significant digging over time to find out for sure.

But even if your theory is true, oreven if the $3m figure isn't true, the reality is Woody hired Pinto on the basis of her post-Oscar Slumdog buzz and that's unusual for Woody - as I said before, it's usually the other way around.... the $3m figure (that would have Joffe rolling in his grave if true) is bad enough, but the prospect of Woody trying to get a hot hand in his film just because is very un-Woody.
Antoine Doinel wrote:AWA, what music compromises did Woody have to make in the last few films?
He never had the budget for the music he wanted, but being musically well educated, he has managed to find ways around it successfully. Match Point only featured Caruso recordings when Woody realized he had no money left in the budget for music and, by luck, got the Caruso recordings when a recent re-issue of them came out - they're copyright free, so it didn't cost him anything. Say what you will about Match Point, but obviously it was successful.
Scoop used classical music for similar reasons, also to good effect.

Cassandra's Dream originally had a Miles Davis soundtrack. Lax told me in my interview with him that was all set to go but they couldn't get the rights to fit in the budget, so Woody filled in the music parts with getting Philip Glass to do the score... and I know Cassandra's Dream has it's fans out there, but to me the Glass score went to great lengths to damage what Woody was trying to accomplish in the film. The ominous music is a dead give away about how the film will play out, it never tries to help Woody's story, never really suggesting that the outcome might be different than the tone of the music is constantly suggesting from the second the film starts. It is clearly the result of Woody having no real experience in overseeing the scoring of original music for a film and how it works within the film itself and it also speaks to how Woody wouldn't dare second guess Glass' contributions, even though it probably would've been best to do so sometimes. He says as much in the Lax "Conversations..." book. I can't help but think that the variety that the Miles Davis music would've brought to the emotions in the film might've made the story more compelling and intriguing... it certainly would've enhanced the romance side of it and might have added a unique thematic contradiction to the murder aspect of the story. This was (as Woody admits) a major compromise that was only the last resort and, IMO, a major failing of an otherwise decent film.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona also suffered from the lack of funds for the music Woody wanted to use, but he was aware of that going in and was thinking about what he might be able to do work around that - as such, when the CD by Giulia y los Tellarini was slipped under his door of his apartment, he wasn't adverse to giving it a listen in his car on his way to the shoots... and as a result he ended up using it which cost him nothing. A stroke of good luck helped him out there and the music helped give VCB a fresh feel that worked well with the story and characters.

No word on what music is going to populate Whatever Works yet, but considering this is more in line with a classic Woody/NYC affair, more than likely Woody would want to fill this with some old jazz... which he has not been able to afford on $15m budgets since Melinda & Melinda as his budgets haven't been rising to match the increased costs involved with filmmaking - especially music publising and sync fees - over the course of the last 10 years. Considering Whatever Works is the last film he's making before starting on his new 3 film-MediaPro-$23m per film deal, it will be interesting to see if he's managed to maneuver under the budget constraints enough to find the cash to put in some of the old jazz or what his options are going to be if he can't afford to do it.
It is hard to believe that it will have been **a half a decade** this year since a Woody film had a single second of old jazz recordings used in it.

A few pages back in this thread this rising costs / static budget issue was addressed in how, after Celebrity in 1998, a lot of the regular Woody crew has given their pink slips to cut down on costs.... and part of the reason for his struggles since 2000 has been a result of not being in stable working relationships that used to be the hallmark of his career... and that financial problem spread to the music side of things in 2005.

User avatar
Antoine Doinel
Posts: 5356
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:22 pm
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Contact:

Re: Woody Allen

#322 Post by Antoine Doinel » Sun Mar 15, 2009 6:57 pm

Thanks very much for the fascinating info AWA. Always a pleasure to read your posts on Woody!

As for the Pinto and MediaPro situation, I guess we'll never know for sure, but perhaps Allen's bigger budget is allowing the producers to have a bit more influence in key decisions than Allen or his fans are used to. Let's just hope Pinto is up to the task because frankly, aside from being attractive, her performance in Slumdog Millionaire is hardly earth shaking.

User avatar
AWA
Posts: 310
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:32 pm
Location: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Contact:

Re: Woody Allen

#323 Post by AWA » Sun Mar 15, 2009 8:25 pm

Antoine Doinel wrote:Thanks very much for the fascinating info AWA. Always a pleasure to read your posts on Woody!
Hey, I'm just glad someone's reading! :lol:
Antoine Doinel wrote:As for the Pinto and MediaPro situation, I guess we'll never know for sure, but perhaps Allen's bigger budget is allowing the producers to have a bit more influence in key decisions than Allen or his fans are used to. Let's just hope Pinto is up to the task because frankly, aside from being attractive, her performance in Slumdog Millionaire is hardly earth shaking.
If that is the case, that really is unfortunate as it would mean Woody has opted for the extra budget funds he needs and finally admitted that such sacrifices are necessary for him to continue to make films the way he does. He left American funding behind for this sole reason, so for him to make such a concession with the European funding is not only a dark cloud day for Woody but also for any other working or aspiring independent filmmakers who aspire to modest ambitions on similarly modest professional budgets. What you're capable to pay for on $10-$15 million seems to be increasingly less and less ... the gap between the small budget indies that don't get a lot of attention and the bigger budget productions which do seems to be getting increasingly wider. Which is one reason I hope this is just some misinformation.

I agree too about the doubts with Pinto's performance capabilities... her role in Slumdog was exceptionally shallow as the basis for love with the main character was that she looked pretty and they shared shelter together when they were children. For all the depth of the character that script gave her she might as well have been a CGI creation for all the character acting she needed to do in that film. Supposedly she is playing the "ingenue role" in the film, which should at least play into any weaknesses she may have as an actress.
knives wrote:Very interesting about the music. Considering Woody's casting process I doubt Pinto is a stunt and if that number is right then maybe the studio has more faith in the picture with her in it.
That's partially what worries me. Woody's casting process is based on him seeing your ability in other films (or occasionally theatre) and making a quick judgment while meeting them in person briefly (which is usually around 5 minutes in length). Woody's casting process is so simplistic that it wouldn't put her in any kind of situation to pass or fail, really - usually small time actors that do get hired are on the basis of some strength in previous peformances (however small) and the professional big-names Woody gets are based on their abilities being quite clear to begin with and their desire to challenge themselves and prove to others they are capable of succeeding in a challenging character-based, dialogue heavy role, which only enhances their value afterwards.

Pinto was a model, whose motion "acting" capability was limited to walking and smiling... or walking and look sexy-moody. Or being able to walk in goofy clothing or whatever. Which, arguably, is all she did in Slumdog anyways with that puddle of a character.
She actually took acting lessons after completing Slumdog, worse yet - theatre acting lessons... which of course is a very different method/process than film acting. If you want to ruin your little indie production, cast some of your local theatre actors to see an exaggerated form of the differences.

Considering the timing of the hiring seems to be that Slumdog's Oscar hype was the only reason Woody's team expressed interest in her, I also doubt Woody saw enough of her in Slumdog to really make that his main motivation, if it was in fact Woody motivating this decision at all and not MediaPro representatives.

I was really eager to see what would become of the MediaPro 3-film deal - and I thought that at least half that increased budget would free up Woody to fill his films with whatever music he so desired again and the remainder on anything interesting he wanted (***especially*** re-shoots, which he has not had the budget to do in the past decade or so that was an essential part of his editing process in his career prior to the financial squeeze). Everything had me excited - the cast, the fact that he could shoot anywhere he wanted, the fact he confirmed he would indeed be able to do his Paris project again... but this news about Pinto, with or without the $3mill payday info, is tainting this deal and has me concerned that a potentially perfect scenario for Woody to get focused on making some great material is going to instead produce films handicapped by flavour of the month acting talents like Pinto whose abilities to carry a role in a Woody film are in doubt. I certainly don't hope the reviews for this London project aren't talking about how great the film is until Pinto comes on the screen to make a populace-appealing cameo that sinks the film.

EDIT NOTE: It is also worth pointing out here that this is the first Woody film since Sleeper in 1973 to ***not*** have Juliet Taylor involved in Casting. I'm not sure why at this point, but that might also be indicative of some casting clauses in this 3-film deal with MediaPro. Or maybe Juliet has gone the way of the remaining Woody regulars who survived Jean Doumanian's late 90's purge and just simply retired due to their age (?).

The Casting Director for this London project is Gail Stevens... who, oddly enough, was the Casting Director for Slumdog Millionaire. Which is no doubt where at least some of the input on Pinto's abilities are coming from.

Jack Rollins (the other half of the Rollins-Charles Joffe producer team that guided Woody from the standup circuit to cinema) also looks to be officially retired now, his last picture being VCB, so perhaps that is also another factor - different representation (seemingly more and more his sister Letty these days) waging a different type of war on Woody's behalf is resulting in different results.

User avatar
knives
Posts: 14012
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Woody Allen

#324 Post by knives » Sun Mar 15, 2009 8:46 pm

First off, great now you've got me worried. Secondly what's "Jean Doumanian's late 90's purge"?

User avatar
AWA
Posts: 310
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:32 pm
Location: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Contact:

Re: Woody Allen

#325 Post by AWA » Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:01 pm

knives wrote:First off, great now you've got me worried. Secondly what's "Jean Doumanian's late 90's purge"?
Three pages back in this thread there was a discussion about the fundamental changes Woody's productions went through around the time of Celebrity, one of them being how his crew of regulars got broken up. This was due to then-producer Jean Doumanian 's cost cutting measures, which in fairness to her (if she deserves any at all), I suppose were necessary or at least inevitable with the eroding finances available for lower budget indie productions and the increased filmmaking costs for everything from music fees to 35mm print development and processing.

Post Reply