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Woody Allen regrets ever agreeing to make a TV series for Amazon

05.15.2015

Woody Allen, depressed and regretful? You're blowing my mind. Earlier in the year it was announced that Woody Allen had signed on to write and direct a new half-hour television series for Amazon. Episodes of the "Untitled Woody Allen Project" were to be released next year on Amazon's Prime Instant Video service, and the studio had ordered a full season of the show. However in a recent interview with Deadline, the prolific director expressed his regret at ever agreeing to the project.

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?’

Allen, who said that he hasn't "had a pleasurable moment since I undertook it," also voiced how alien the whole concept of television is to him:

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?

I'm sure Woody Allen will get the job done as this pre-production anxiety isn't entirely out of character for him, but even so, the television medium isn't something he's had much experience with. Allen added, "how to begin something and end it after a half an hour and then come back the next time. It’s not me."

Woody Allen's most recent film, IRRATIONAL MAN, premiered at Cannes today and will see a wider release on July 17, 2015.

Source: Deadline

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11:33AM on 05/17/2015

This is a marketing ploy

Woody Allen's neuroses are real, but this degree of not being aware has to be a bald faced lie. This is him playing into some kind of stereotype: Now not just neurotic, but an old, unhip guy, too! All he has to do is say to his molested "wife" or someone else young enough to understand things "what is Amaz On Dot, Calm?" and they could pull it up on their smart phone, the computer, etc. I believe he doesn't try to follow pop culture, I believe he's always out at jazz clubs or on location
Woody Allen's neuroses are real, but this degree of not being aware has to be a bald faced lie. This is him playing into some kind of stereotype: Now not just neurotic, but an old, unhip guy, too! All he has to do is say to his molested "wife" or someone else young enough to understand things "what is Amaz On Dot, Calm?" and they could pull it up on their smart phone, the computer, etc. I believe he doesn't try to follow pop culture, I believe he's always out at jazz clubs or on location filming, or wherever it is he writes, but to say he didn't understand what he was agreeing to except that the money was good is just stupid. Nobody signs a contract for a six episode series on Amazon without having some idea of what they're getting into.
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5:32AM on 05/18/2015
Viral Marketing? or does he not know what that is LOL.
Viral Marketing? or does he not know what that is LOL.
9:53AM on 05/17/2015
Then...he shouldn't have made the agreement. Cry me a river.
Then...he shouldn't have made the agreement. Cry me a river.
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5:26AM on 05/17/2015
I find it hard to swallow that he had never heard of streaming, let alone Amazon.
I find it hard to swallow that he had never heard of streaming, let alone Amazon.
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2:51PM on 05/16/2015

Typical Woody.

The man is plagued with neurotic problems. This is a guy who goes to a therapist EVERY day and has at least two other doctors appointments each week.

He has so many doctors that he sets up private screenings for all of them.
The man is plagued with neurotic problems. This is a guy who goes to a therapist EVERY day and has at least two other doctors appointments each week.

He has so many doctors that he sets up private screenings for all of them.
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12:46AM on 05/16/2015
Woody Allen strikes me as the kind of director who does his best work when he's hating what he's doing and certain it will fail :P
Woody Allen strikes me as the kind of director who does his best work when he's hating what he's doing and certain it will fail :P
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9:39PM on 05/15/2015
Maybe he's just not used to TV series format, that's all.
Maybe he's just not used to TV series format, that's all.
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9:05PM on 05/15/2015
I've got it, the series will be about a famous director agreeing to do a TV series and then regretting it.
I've got it, the series will be about a famous director agreeing to do a TV series and then regretting it.
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12:45AM on 05/16/2015
HA! Well, that's pretty much what the pilot for Larry David's show did, wasn't it? :P
HA! Well, that's pretty much what the pilot for Larry David's show did, wasn't it? :P
8:51PM on 05/15/2015
Allen spreads himself too thin, and it shows in his recent films since they're very hit or miss. For every Midnight in Paris or Blue Jasmine, we get something like You Will Meet a Tall Stranger or To Rome with Love. I still haven't checked out his new film (Magic in the Moonlight?), but it didn't seem like many were impressed with it. Since this show seems like an afterthought to him, I have little faith it will fall in the better half of the spectrum of his work. I admire his work ethic, but I
Allen spreads himself too thin, and it shows in his recent films since they're very hit or miss. For every Midnight in Paris or Blue Jasmine, we get something like You Will Meet a Tall Stranger or To Rome with Love. I still haven't checked out his new film (Magic in the Moonlight?), but it didn't seem like many were impressed with it. Since this show seems like an afterthought to him, I have little faith it will fall in the better half of the spectrum of his work. I admire his work ethic, but I wish he'd focus more on quality instead of quantity.
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8:35PM on 05/15/2015
What a cynical way to create a program, "here's lots of money, make something" That really isn't how creativity works. Alas, I'm sure this is more common then we are privy to.
What a cynical way to create a program, "here's lots of money, make something" That really isn't how creativity works. Alas, I'm sure this is more common then we are privy to.
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12:43AM on 05/16/2015
It's not THAT common, that's for sure. But only because usually you have studio pressure to do what the producers want, which is kind of even *more* cynical, in a way. And usually the directors are just lackeys who come in for one or two episodes and have very little creative control - in that sense, TV has really entered a new era.
It's not THAT common, that's for sure. But only because usually you have studio pressure to do what the producers want, which is kind of even *more* cynical, in a way. And usually the directors are just lackeys who come in for one or two episodes and have very little creative control - in that sense, TV has really entered a new era.
11:42AM on 05/16/2015
There's always been 2 methods to get a movie or show started: Either a writer writes a script or the studio/channel hires a writer to write something specific. The former has always been the best way. This is the 1st time I've heard of a "channel" hiring a writer to write whatever he wants and still offer him tons of money. Well, at least it's closer to the 1st method. Even if it ends up being bad, it probably won't be uncreative.
There's always been 2 methods to get a movie or show started: Either a writer writes a script or the studio/channel hires a writer to write something specific. The former has always been the best way. This is the 1st time I've heard of a "channel" hiring a writer to write whatever he wants and still offer him tons of money. Well, at least it's closer to the 1st method. Even if it ends up being bad, it probably won't be uncreative.
7:39PM on 05/15/2015

I don't know who's dumber

Amazon for begging Allen to take project even though he had no idea who they were or Allen for not being able to come up something entertaining for 3 hours.
Amazon for begging Allen to take project even though he had no idea who they were or Allen for not being able to come up something entertaining for 3 hours.
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