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Despite the negativity that surrounds Woody Allen’s personal life, there’s no doubt that he’s become one of the most prolific writer/directors of our time. The 79-year-old has more screenwriting Oscar nominations than any other, and continues to put out a movie a year, like clockwork. But the man who is still putting out cinematic treasures in our more modern world isn’t even invested in the digital age. He doesn’t own a computer, and has never seen anything online. So when Allen agreed to working with Amazon to write and direct a full season of half-hour episodes, the writer/director immediately regretted it.
The project was announced about four months ago in response to Transparent’s big win at the Golden Globes. The award got Amazon to thinking, and soon after, they were snagging Woody Allen for a project. While promoting the release of his latest film, Irrational Man starring Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix, Allen told Deadline that he completely regrets signing on for this project, and doesn’t even know what a streaming service is:
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.
Allen admitted that he never even knew what Amazon was (does he live under a rock?!) and that when gets home at night he watches baseball or basketball or Charlie Rose. He’d never even seen The Sopranos. So when Amazon approached him, he reiterated to them that he never watched television, had no ideas for it, and really didn’t know how to make a successful show. But as they continued to coerce him with better and better deals, and told him he could have complete creative freedom, Allen went for it.
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 has always been vocal about his insecurities and anxieties though, and admitted that much of it has fueled his career, so could this just be the right anxiety to create a masterpiece? The writer/director is hesitant, he knows movies, and even knows stage, but TV is an entirely different world. His only TV experience comes in form of TV movies and a hosting gig for a Saturday morning children’s documentary series, Hot Dog, hardly the highbrow material that Amazon is probably hoping for.
Still no official timeline on the untitled series quite yet, like Allen said, he has until the end of 2016 to finish. Whether or not his completed product will surpass his own predicted failure, is another story. But for now we can just hope that this insecurity can fuel the fire.