party lines

Woody Allen Fights AIDS, Bores Us


Woody at Wednesday’s amFAR benefit.Photo: Getty Images

Speaking of Wednesday’s amFAR benefit, it also brought out Woody Allen for a rare public appearance. (He presented an award to an old friend, Dr. Mathilde Krim, amFAR’s founding chairman.) After a charmingly bumbling speech, he sat, quite oddly, across the table from Soon-Yi and listened to Garry Shandling tell the room about watching Allen years ago on a short-lived Saturday-morning TV show, Hot Dog. “It was a show where they explained to kids how things worked and Woody Allen was one of the people who explained things,” Shandling said. “I’ll never forget the time he came out and told us that baseball bats were made of halvah, so that when you strike out, you can eat it.”

Later we approached Allen to ask for an interview and were shocked to have him agree. Suddenly, visions of brilliant, hilarious, angst- and Yiddish-filled quotes leaped to our mind. We were thrilled. And then he proceeded to give us a series of totally boring replies. (Except for one tiny bit of news, that despite his last few films, he hasn’t forsaken New York forever.) Feh.

Do you hang out with Martin Scorsese?
I don’t spend any time with him. Once in a great while, I might run into him. But we’re not social.

What do you think of his Oscar chances?
I always feel he should win, and I’ve felt this for many years. I think he’s great. I feel he’s deserved it many times in the past, and I’m rooting for him now.

Have you noticed that he’s started talking like you?
Who? Marty? Gee, I can’t see that, because he’s got a very vivid and exciting personality of his own that is much more interesting than mine.

You just filmed a movie with Michelle Williams. Have you dumped Scarlett Johansson as your muse?
This is strictly from the press! Scarlett has never been my muse. I’ve never had a muse. But I adore her.

Will you ever shoot another movie in New York?
Sure, I love New York. But right now I’m not. It’s been fun abroad. It wasn’t so much [a matter of] funding. It was more that people would fund you and then they want to participate and you can take their funding, if you’re willing to let them participate. I’d rather they didn’t participate and I got the funding elsewhere. Hey, I gotta eat something. The steak gets cold. —Jada Yuan

Woody Allen Fights AIDS, Bores Us