Woody Allen Immediately Regrets Decision to Write Amazon TV Series
We’d all but forgotten that cinema icon Woody Allen had signed on to develop his first-ever TV series for Amazon streaming, and the director apparently wishes we had. A new interview sees Allen candidly admitting complete regret toward signing onto the series, as well as that Amazon could be “crushed with disappointment” at the results in 2016.
A wide-ranging interview with Deadline saw the eternally-neurotic director turning to the subject of his Amazon deal, admitting that the studio had approached him for well over a year, with increasingly higher offers of financial and creative freedom. In addition to Allen’s general unfamiliarity with modern TV and its delivery methods, the director espoused his difficulty telling stories within a half-hour format, let alone six that would make for an effective story.
It’s a long read, but hilariously indicative of Allen’s lacking progress on the Amazon series:
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?’
DEADLINE: But haven’t you just voiced the anxiety and insecurity that fueled your entire creative career?
ALLEN: I hope it’s just the anxiety again, but this is hard. I’m like a fish out of water. 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.
DEADLINE: You really regret that deal?
ALLEN: Oh, it’s amazing how you can regret. I haven’t had a pleasurable moment since I undertook it.
Granted, “Older artist shakes fist at modern Hollywood” is hardly an unfamiliar tale, we can’t imagine Amazon being entirely thrilled with Allen’s ambivalence toward the project. Then again, that might prove to be entirely what they signed up for, as Allen said in the initial press release:
I don’t know how I got into this. I have no ideas and I’m not sure where to begin. My guess is that [Amazon VP] Roy Price will regret this.
Sharp as ever, Woody. Now, who wants to guess how spectacular the rolling train wreck to 2016 will be? Picture unrelated.