In an interview with the Spanish newspaper "La Vanguardia" over the weekend, Woody Allen announced that he wanted to shoot his last film, now in autumn, in Paris, with the working title "WASP 22", which of course will not be the final title because it just means "Woody Allen Summer Project 2022".
One speculates on Isabelle Huppert in the lead role. Huppert had already expressed her wish to be able to shoot with Allen five years ago: “Time is starting to press. He's not young anymore," she said at the time. “He produces a film every year. He could also shoot one with me, done quickly, well done, no great effort. He doesn't know what he's missing.” Two years later, Huppert followed up, lamenting how “violent” and “exaggerated” the campaign against Allen was.
WASP 22 would be his 50th directorial effort. It wouldn't take place in Europe for nothing, Allen has shot almost half of his films here in the past decade and a half, and not only because he is the most "European" of all American directors, but because his homeland gives him the love (and livelihood) has withdrawn.
First, DreamWorks parted ways with him because his films weren't making as much profit as he'd hoped, and then after his ex-wife Mia Farrow's allegations of abuse, he became an unfinancially unaffordable person - but not in Europe, which is less likely to be prejudiced than the film's case "Sparta," who was kicked out of the Toronto festival over vague allegations of "child exploitation" but was allowed to run in San Sebastián.
The thrill of filmmaking is gone, says the 86-year-old in "Vanguardia". But you also have to realize that the most important film movement after the French Nouvelle Vague is nearing its end: “New Hollywood”.
Allen would, of course, indignantly dismiss the "Hollywood" brand, but he was in the '70s with Spielberg, Lucas, Coppola, Scorsese and Altman
Half a century after the emergence of "New Hollywood", the last "auteurs" are now saying goodbye. Allen (86) is thinking about retiring, Eastwood (92) doesn't want to retire, but the new, super-profit-oriented Warner boss (enthroned by Disney) holds his flop "Cry Macho" against him. Redford (86) has finished his acting and directing career and only produces a little. Despite all the hostilities, Polanski (89) has just completed another film (with Mickey Rourke, John Cleese and Oliver Masucci).
Coppola (83) has been talking about his "Megalopolis" project for a long time, but needs someone to give him 100 million for it. George Lucas (78) got rid of the "Star Wars" millstone by selling it to Disney, but doesn't seem to know what to do instead. Scorsese (79) and Spielberg (75) will probably continue for a while. The star as a film draft horse is dead, soon it could be the director too. What remains is possibly only the story – and, God forbid, the attachment to fashionable discourses.
Allen's spokesman has since denied that Woody wanted to quit. Let's assume he actually said it that way in a weak moment but now regrets it. It's just not easy to stop. Frederick Wiseman is made of different stuff, the legendary documentary filmmaker, now sprightly 92. He not only presented his latest film in Venice, but also categorically ruled out in an interview that he would ever stop.
On the contrary, he has now also started to act. In the French Venice film "Les Enfants des Autres" he plays Virginie Efira's gynecologist, who reassures her that it is about time to start thinking about children. "How much time do I have left?" she asks worried. His answer: "I sometimes ask myself that too."