Fresh off finishing production of his new film “Wonder Wheel,” legendary filmmaker Woody Allen sat down to do his first-ever Facebook Live interview. Moderating the talk was Robert Weide, the director behind “Woody Allen: A Documentary,” so you know its going to get right down to the nitty-gritty.
Over the course of the hour-plus interview, Woody goes over everything from “Wonder Wheel,” which stars Justin Timberlake and Kate Winslet, to how distributors have interfered with his films throughout the decades. Much like a variety of indie filmmakers, Allen feels like the marketing, promotion, and distribution of a lot of his films have been mishandled, to the point where he jokes that they cast a spell over each of the films to ensure failure.
“It’s always, ‘We’ll put this out in the summer because it will be counter-programming to all the big movies’ or ‘We’ll put this out in Easter,’ ” Allen said. “There is always a story as to why their plan to really squeeze the last dollar out of the box office of the picture has failed miserably, and the picture is awash in red ink.”
The director joked that distributors hold “voodoo meetings where they decide what’s the best way to put the film out to minimize the box office.”
He does talk a little more about the genesis of “Wonder Wheel.” The film takes place in the early ’50s in Coney Island. He talks about how he loved Coney Island but never went on the Wonder Wheel. Allen also talks about how working for Amazon Studios for this project has been a great situation. Because they deal with billions and billions of dollars, Allen feels like they throw him money to make his low-budget films without even batting an eye, which gives him tons of creative freedom.
“Amazon is a perfect example of a company that’s so successful that someone like me is peanuts and chump change. These guys make billions. They’re worth billions and billions. So I come along and I make films for a pittance. So they can reach in their pocket and say, ‘Give it to him and shut him up,’ and I make my film, and if it makes a few dollars you don’t even notice it on an Amazon ledger,” he said. “And if it loses a few bucks they couldn’t care less. And the people up there like the quality of my work. They like the films. Not everybody does, but they do. So they feel no pain with me and they’re happy to give me the money and let me do my thing, and maybe I’ll give them a nice film… A company like Amazon, that falls under the rich, patron-of-the-arts sucker group.”
The interview is very in-depth and wonderful for anyone interested in the illustrious career of one of film’s greatest writer/directors. [quotes via Indiewire]