Photo: Splash News
“Oh, it’s amazing how you can regret. I haven’t had a pleasurable moment since I undertook it.” That’s Woody Allen talking to Deadline about agreeing to do a show for Amazon back in January. What seemed like a natural fit — having one of our talkiest directors making television, a medium more open to words than film (at least recently) — has proven to be anything but for Woody. “I’m like a fish out of water,” he explained. “Movies I’ve been doing for decades, and even the stage stuff, I know the stage and have seen a million plays. But this … how to begin something and end it after a half an hour and then come back the next time. It’s not me.”
The problem seems to stem from the fact that he essentially has never watched TV — even the fancy TV that people who say “I don’t even own a TV” (ugh, those people) watch: “I’ve never seen The Sopranos, or Mad Men. I’m out every night and when I come home, I watch the end of the baseball or basketball game, and there’s Charlie Rose and I go to sleep.” Until this interview, he revealed he never even heard the words streaming service before: “When you said streaming service, it was the first time I’ve heard that term connected with the Amazon thing.” Adding, “I never knew what Amazon was.”
So, why did he agree to do the project at all? Well, besides “everybody around” him pressuring him, they basically offered him the world: “Finally they said look, we’ll do anything that you want, just give us six half hours. They can be black and white, they can take place in Paris, in New York and California, they can be about a family, they can be comedy, you can be in them, they can be tragic. We don’t have to know anything, just come in with six half hours.”
Woody assumed it would be like doing a movie in six parts. “Turns out, it’s not.” If only he could take the money and run. Hell, we’d take a cut-up, three-hour sequel to one of his movies. For example: Zelig 2: 2elig; Play It One More Time, Sam; How’s It Going, Tiger Lily?; Radio Weeks; Exteriors; October; Awaker; A Third Woman; Reconstructing Harry; Hannah and Her Sisters and Her Sisters’ Analysts; Big Time Crooks; Melinda and Melinda and Melinda; Everyone Says I Love Two; Husbands and Wives and Their Analysts; Before Midnight in Paris; 2 Crimes 2 Misdemeanors; and, of course, Brooklyn.