Saturday, April 20, 2024

Woody Allen Wants Reese, Cate Blanchett


Woody Allen wants to work with Reese Witherspoon and Cate Blanchett. He’s still obsessed with death, but doesn’t look forward to it. He doesn’t recommend old age, which includes eye glasses and hearing aids.

Basically, Woody warned at his Cannes press conference on Saturday afternoon, nothing has changed. Except: he was funny and relaxed at a long table that included members of his latest cast–Josh Brolin, Naomi Watts, Gemma Jones, and Lucy Punch from “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.”

“Stranger” will be released this fall from Sony Pictures Classics, and I can already tell you that Gemma Jones–a star in Britain—will have an Oscar nomination. Her subtle performance is a revelation. I hope they put her in lead and not supporting, too.

Absent from the proceedings–Anthony Hopkins and Antonio Banderas. But it didn’t matter. Woody was hilarious. I asked him if he was ever planning to be on camera again. He said that he liked to play the romantic lead. “I like to get the girl,” he said. But at 74, even he knows it’s getting harder and harder to pull that off.

And he does understand this because “Stranger” –while it has a typical Allen May – December relationship– takes a romantic look at love among the 60 plus set. Jones and Hopkins long marriage hits the rocks, and is played for laughs. The actors are so good though that even the comedy–it’s a funny movie–has a melancholy glow. “Stranger” is a very mature work. It would be a perfect opener for the New York Film Festival.

There’s a dark side to “Strangers,” too. Even as the characters pursue romance and career aspirations, they are also keeping secrets. Several of them are getting with something or other underhanded. Not all will get their comeuppance. Call it “Crimes, Misdemeanors, and Laughs.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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