Woody Allen’s new and– I think excellent– movie, “Irrational Man,” opens Friday in New York and Los Angeles. Yesterday, I moderated a press panel in the afternoon with Woody, actress Parker Posey, and actor Jamie Blackley. (Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix star, but they’re in LA.) Last night, Sony Pictures Classics held a swell premiere at the Palace Hotel on Madison Avenue, where Robert Klein, Caroline Rhea, Mischa Barton, Bob Balaban, Richard Kind and a slew of New York luminaries celebrated being “Irrational.”
At the press panel, I asked Woody about Bette Midler’s actress daughter, Sophie von Haselberg, who makes her debut in the film. I’m so glad our Paula Schwartz was there to take notes:
On Sophie von Haselberg, Bette Midler’s daughter, who plays a student. You brought her up. She is making her film debut:
Woody Allen: She’s wonderful. She came in with a lot of other women that read and she’s the spitting image of her and she was just good…I thought she was so good that I combined her part. There was another part to and when I gave her the role, then I dropped the other character out of the movie and worked it so that she could have a double role, so could appear more frequently cause she was impressive… She projects intelligence because she’s intelligent.
And Woody on all the good actors around and how he manages to get them in his movies. He’s still casting for his next film which begins shooting in August:
Woody: We start shooting in August, with Jesse Eisenberg, Parker, Kristin Stewart, Bruce Willis, Blake Lively, Judy Davis …. We’re still casting. That’s what we have…There’s an enormous amount of very talented actors and actresses around and not a lot of projects. I mean it seems like there are a lot of projects but there’s not. You can get actors, and very good actors….they don’t get enough work, enough meaty work…a couple weeks there,something else in a blockbuster picture but they’re actors there’s a great supply.
Showbiz411: They’re playing superheroes.
Woody: Those are very tempting pictures for enormous, enormous amounts of money and enormous recognition… and we offer, you know, most no frills counter situation but they will take it if they don’t’ have an offer from a blockbuster movie, they’ll take it. And they will take it because they like to act and if you give them something to act that isn’t just running and ducking explosions and chasing cars. If they give a part to act they’ll do it. They have heart and they want to work and they know they’re actors, they’re artists, so if you give them something to sink their teeth into they’ll accept it and they’re willing to sacrifice the money.
How did he know Parker Posey:
Woody: I didn’t. I knew the name. Everybody knows the name cause it’s such a silly name.
Parker: My mother thought so too. She loved the name Parker and she married my and she’s like it’s really silly. She named me Parker anyway.
Woody: It was actually Juliet Taylor, my casting director, who said she’d just run into Parker and chatted with her somewhere in Europe and that Parker seemed to her a very good possibility for this role and as soon as Parker came into our cutting room where we interview actors, the second we saw her, … I thought she was absolutely perfect for it and it turned out she was better than perfect. She made a contribution to the role far in excess of what I wrote. Very often you write a character and you write it and it’s okay, and then you luck out and you get an actor or actress who brings something to it… but the truth is the actor has brought some kind of (stamp), part of her personality really above and beyond the relativety bland character that you wrote….
On Joaquin Phoenix who plays the titular character, Abe Lucas, a philosophy professor who is burned out and drinks too much–Emma Stone and Parker Posey’s characters – each have affairs with him and are okay about it
Woody: They like him. She’s (Posey) having an affair with him because she has an affair with everybody on campus and the kid, Emma, you know, is developing a crush on him because he’s interesting. His neurosis is interesting. He’s very bright and he’s all screwed up and you have the tendency to help those people, or, you know, he’s a fascinating kind of guy and Joaquin has that built into him. If he was here now you would want to help him. He’s very charmingly erratic. I think I phrased that very tactfully.