Cannes: Woody Allen Praises 'Cafe Society' Star Kristen Stewart
"I have always thought of myself as romantic," he told a press conference. "This is not necessarily shared by the women in my life."
Having been famous for nearly 60 years, Woody Allen faced the press one more time on Wednesday as he unveiled his newest film at the Cannes Film Festival, where he was asked about the pros and cons of being famous. His response: "My own opinion after years in the spotlight is that the perks far outweigh the downside."
Cafe Society, his newest film, stars Jesse Eisenberg as a New Yorker who heads to Hollywood in the 1930s, where he falls in love with a young woman, played by Kristen Stewart, who works for his uncle, a big-shot agent played by Steve Carell. Romantic complications ensue, and during the press conference that followed the first critics' screening of the film, Allen was asked why his movies so often feature an older man pursuing a younger woman."I have always thought of myself as romantic," Allen answered. "Now, this is not necessarily shared by the women in my life," he added, getting a laugh. Asked whether he could envision making a movie about a younger man and an older woman, he said, "I wouldn't hesitate to if I had a good idea for a story about a 50-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man. It's not a commonly seen thing, and I don't have a lot of experience to draw on for material. It's a perfectly valid comic idea to have an age difference between two people." He admitted when he was 30-years-old he had "a great crush" on a 50-year-old woman, but she wouldn't let him near her "with a ten-foot pole."
Allen was accompanied by the movie’s stars Eisenberg, Stewart, Blake Lively and Corey Stoll as well as cinematographer Vittorio Storaro.
Allen offered particular praise for Stewart, explaining, "I needed someone who could play an adorable little secretary from Nebraska" as well as "later in the movie you could see her in furs and jewels, and she would look just smashing and elegant."
Stewart, sitting beside Allen, interjected: "I auditioned for this part, too." She added that once she started playing the part "that tonal quality that's so familiar and immediately recognizable [in Allen's movies] just happens intrinsically."
Allen also said that if he were a younger man, he would have played the part that he gave to Eisenberg. "I would have played it much more narrowly myself because I'm a comedian, not an actor," he said. "So I would have given it one dimension. Jesse is a fine, fine actor and gave it much more complexity." Allen does narrate the film as an off-screen third-person narrator, but Eisenberg said that the actors didn't know he would ultimately narrate the film, so as an actor, Eisenberg "didn't feel any pressure" to sound like Allen. "There was no emphasis from him, or consciously from me, to enact some sort of impression."
Cafe Society marks the first time that Allen has worked with the Oscar-winning Storaro and also the first film that Storaro has shot digitally, but both director and cinematographer embraced the new technology, with Storaro saying, "Digital is part of the language of progress."
The film is the fourth Allen movie to open the festival. Amazon spent $15 million for rights to the film, which it will release stateside through Lionsgate on July 29.