When it was announced last year that Woody Allen would be writing and directing an original series for Amazon—his first TV show ever—many were quite surprised by the news. Allen already keeps a strict schedule of making one film a year, so when would he find the time to create, shoot, and edit a TV show in between? Would the series interrupt his movie schedule? And what would a Woody Allen TV series even look like?
There were many questions, but folks weren’t complaining. New Woody Allen content is always a good thing, even if the results are hit or miss. But it appears that Allen is now deeply regretting ever making a deal with Amazon, as the filmmaker hilariously explained to Deadline:
“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 went on to explain that the medium of TV is foreign to him, adding, “How to begin something and end it after half an hour and then come back the next time—it’s not me.” In fact, Allen doesn’t even watch TV:
“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?”
The filmmaker went on to say that he hopes this apprehension is just his typical anxiety, but his candor is refreshing and, honestly, quite funny. His latest film, Irrational Man, just debuted at Cannes to mixed reviews and he’s currently gearing up to shoot his next feature this summer.
How will the Amazon series turn out? Honestly, I’d love to see him go the Charlie Kaufman route and make a show about someone unfamiliar with television trying to make a television show.