June 25, 2001 01:00 PM

Woody Allen, 65, wants you to stop laughing at him, reports PEOPLE. His latest movie, the 1940s-style comedy “The Curse of the Jade Scorpion,” set to open Aug. 10, is his 35th movie (as a director) in the past 35 years, which proves that he’s prolific. But how about serious? “I would much rather be Eugene O’Neill or Tennessee Williams than (have) a comic persona,” the Woodman said at a weekend press conference in New York. “That’s not who I am, but I would love to try some more dramas before I’m finished working.” Asked if he would draw on his own life for serious projects (which would therefore have to include his child custody fight with his ex, Mia Farrow, as well as the current legal battle over residuals with longtime pal and business partner Jean Doumanian), he replied: “I’m sure I would, because it’s the path of least resistance. And I always take that.” Allen costars with Helen Hunt in “Scorpion,” which takes its title from a jewel that is coveted by a nightclub hypnotist (David Ogden Stiers) who turns the Allen character into a thief. Asked to name his greatest comic influence, Allen replied without hesitation, “Bob Hope . . . He is kind of tall, in his prime, attractive, glib. I’m a New York, neurotic, Jewish comedian, so you don’t see the influence quite readily. People that know me, like Diane Keaton, can see it all over the place.”

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