Woody Allen may be creeping up on his 80th birthday (he's 76 this year), but his work ethic shows no sign of letting up. He's directed 41 films in 42 years and, as usual, has started prepping for the next before the premiere of his latest, the Owen Wilson/Rachel McAdams topliner "Midnight in Paris." As revealed a week or so ago, the next will follow the recent trend in Allen's work, and be set in a major European city, with Rome following on from London, Barcelona and Paris.
In a lengthy, must-read interview with The Guardian to mark the UK release this week of last year's "You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger", Allen has revealed one additional detail about the project beside its setting, as well as some intriguing hints of what might lie beyond that film. The writer-director hasn't appeared in one of his own films since the poorly received "Scoop" back in 2006, but he tells the paper that he's written himself a small role in the Rome-set film.
Allen does suggest that it's in no way a lead: "...it's not a big deal, it's an amusing turn, so I'll do it. But I can't be the love interest any more. I can't play opposite Scarlett Johansson, it's not appropriate." There's no news on other casting yet, but we imagine the usual queue of A-listers will start forming any day now. Perhaps more intriguing, however, are Allen's hints that he might want to reunite with perhaps his best-known collaborator: the star of "Annie Hall" and "Manhattan," Diane Keaton.
The pair haven't worked together since 1993's "Manhattan Murder Mystery," but Allen says that he and Keaton are "very, very good friends," and pays tribute to her for helping him to write for women, saying that "they were cardboard figures before her, and I made no effort to change it, but after I met Keaton I could write women, and only write women, that was all that interested me."
However, the only issue seems to be that he doesn't have an approach: he tells The Guardian that "I'd love to have a wonderful tour de force part with Diane Keaton but the problem is... doing what?," ruling out the idea of a romance between the elder Allen and Keaton by saying that "nobody wants to see two septugenarians get it on. People may say they do, but they don't. They want to see Leonardo DiCaprio chasing after Scarlett Johansson. They don't want me flirting with Diane Keaton."
Of course, Keaton's success in recent years, in films like "Something's Gotta Give" suggests that Allen's being a little short-sighted here. But where there's a will, there's a way, so we're sure that we'll see Allen and Keaton reunited on screen before too long. As for "Midnight in Paris," the usually self-disparaging Allen (who at one point before the film's release tried to bury "Annie Hall" because he hated it so much) has an uncharacteristic confidence about the film, saying "I feel affectionate towards it."
Allen's European work has been mostly weak, with only "Vicky Christina Barcelona" being any good, but the new film's excellent cast, which sees Wilson and McAdams joined by Tom Hiddleston, Marion Cotillard, Michael Sheen, Adrien Brody, Kathy Bates, Alison Pill, Lea Seydoux and Carla Bruni, means we're looking forward to it bowing at Cannes. And if you can't make it to the Croisette, the wait for the film won't be too long -- it opens on May 20th.