If I asked you to close your eyes and envision the worst possible celebrity interview scenario, what would it be? The right answer is of course Deadline’s Mike Fleming, Jr. interviewing Woody Allen.
The full Q-and-A is very long and very boring. A salivating Fleming asks Allen questions about filmmaking, his casting process (“The person walks in and I do a quick look, just to see them live”), and his new movie starring Emma Stone.
But this interview did manage to do some good, in that it surfaced Amazon Studio’s very embarrassing desperation to work with a man accused of sexually abusing his daughter. (But not to worry! Fleming doesn’t bother to bring up any of that unpleasantness in his questions. Good journalism.)
So, how do you convince a creep to bring his directorial vision to your fledging television studio? Keep throwing money at him until he says yes. To wit:
DEADLINE: How do you reconcile your avoidance of computers and iPads, when you signed on to create a TV series for Amazon’s streaming service?
ALLEN: I don’t even know what a streaming service is; that’s the interesting thing. When you said streaming service, it was the first time I’ve heard that term connected with the Amazon thing. I never knew what Amazon was. I’ve never seen any of those series, even on cable. 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. Amazon kept coming to me and saying, please do this, whatever you want. I kept saying I have no ideas for it, that I never watch television. I don’t know the first thing about it. Well, this went on for a year and a half, and they kept making a better deal and a better deal. 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. And they offered a lot of money and everybody around me was pressuring me, go ahead and do it, what do you have to lose?
DEADLINE: So you said yes…
ALLEN: And I have regretted every second since I said OK. It’s been so hard for me. I had the cocky confidence, well, I’ll do it like I do a movie…it’ll be a movie in six parts. Turns out, it’s not. For me, it has been very, very difficult. I’ve been struggling and struggling and struggling. I only hope that when I finally do it — I have until the end of 2016 — they’re not crushed with disappointment because they’re nice people and I don’t want to disappoint them. I am doing my best. I fit it in between films, so it’s not like, no film this year, I’m doing Amazon. It’s a job within my usual schedule. But I am not as good at it as I fantasized I might be. It’s not a piece of cake; it’s a tough thing and I’m earning every penny that they’re giving me and I just hope that they don’t feel, ‘My God, we gave him a very substantial amount of money and freedom and this is what he gives us?’
we’ll do anything that you want, just give us six half hours
Amazon, I promise you, Woody Allen has no more surprises.