Woody Allen opens up for PBS’ American Masters
The famous director will be featured in a two part documentary on PBS in November.
Woody Allen is one of America’s most popular directors. His witty writing style is so distinctive, one can recognize a “Woody Allen film” merely from listening to a short dialogue exchange. Although he’s been releasing nearly one film a year for over 40 years, we know very little about the man personally, mostly due to what Scarlett Johannson calls a “crippling shyness”.
Allen rarely sits for interviews, has rejected numerous requests to be honoured for his work, and doesn’t participate in promotions for his films. PBS approached the director about showcasing his life and career in a two-part “American Masters” documentary tentatively titled “Serious Funny- The Comic Art of Woody Allen”, and he finally agreed!
The documentary will include clips of Allen performing stand-up in the 1960’s, follow him while visiting his old neighbourhood in New York, and feature clips from several of his films, including “Annie Hall”, “Manhattan” and “Match Point”. It will air November 20th and 21st.
Robert Weide, the documentary’s producer, explained that getting Allen to participate took a lot of convincing. In 2008, Weide finally convinced Allen that “it was time”.
“He can’t stand it”, Weide commented regarding Allen’s loathing to be the centre of attention or receive recognition for his work. “If the Kennedy Center were to include him in their annual salute to artists, he might spend most of his time backstage throwing up.”.
Woody Allen is very critical of his own work, applying a grading system to every film he’s made. “He says he’s made a couple of A’s, a few B’s, a few C’s, and a lot of D’s and F’s”, Weide continues. But, the producer insists that Allen must be recognized as the “quintessential independent filmmaker”. Although Allen downplays many of his classics including “Annie Hall” and “Manhattan”, Weide points out that “the people who finance his films don’t read scripts, they don’t even get an outline. His thing is, he delivers his films on time and on budget, and no one can mess with that. This is the scam he’s had going on all this time.”
The 75-year-old director is currently shooting “The Bop Decameron” starring Ellen Page, Penelope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, and Jesse Eisenberg.