A wonderful interview with Woody Allen, conducted in 1979, has surfaced online. The interview is taken from a French documentary on Allen called ‘Question de Temps: Une Heure avec Woody Allen‘ – Question Of Time: An Hour with Woody Allen.
It’s a far ranging interview, right in the era that most people know Allen for, and covers his two most loved films – Annie Hall and Manhattan. He also talks about his start – his stand-up years.
Allen’s pessimism comes across. And yes, his mindset here, in 1979, has not moved very much in the intervening 35 years (if anything, he’s become more pessimistic). His views on awards, on reading reviews, on comedy – it has all stayed in place. The interviewer says it best – “you’re very serious for an American comic genius”.
He talks about his early relationships. It is probably the most he has ever said about his first wife, Harlene Rosen, and he also talks about Diane Keaton and Louise Lasser. He also talks about politics at length, which is rare.
What is most suprising for us is how open Allen appears. Over the years he would close off, and these sort of interviews stopped. Right here, he almost looks like he is enjoying fame – in his own way. Still, Stardust Memories was on the way.
Perhaps the most ironic comment is at the very end, musing on other people he wouldn’t mind being if he could live his life over…. “If I could be born again, I wouldn’t mind being born as Marlon Brando. Or maybe Frank Sinatra… if I could be one of them, I think it would be nice for me.” And of course, Sinatra was married to Mia Farrow (and is now conjectured to be the true father of Ronan Farrow).
Except that Sinatra was infertile, and 72 at the time Ronan was conceived and living nowhere near Farrow and had no contact. But what’s another vicious lie.