The writer/director touched on everything from the meaninglessness of life to Ebola in his Cannes interview Friday
On a beautiful, sunshiny afternoon in the French Riviera, a single storm cloud hovered over a Cannes press conference in the form of Woody Allen.
The hilariously neurotic writer/director is in town to screen his new film Irrational Man – his 11th career entry to the festival – on Friday, and took questions from the press flanked by his film’s leading ladies, Emma Stone and Parker Posey.
But neither the company of the two starlets, nor the adulation that routinely accompanies his entries to the festival, could keep the four-time Academy Award winner from falling back on his Debbie Downer tendencies – and touching on everything from Ebola to his biggest regrets in life.
Here’s are Allen’s top five womp womp comments of the week:
1. Amazon Anxiety
Allen’s first foray into the world of television mini-series seems to be off to a dubious start. The director has signed on to create a six-episode project for Amazon’s digital streaming service, expected to be available sometime in 2016.
“It was a catastrophic mistake for me,” Allen said anxiously when asked about the series. “I’m struggling with it at home. I never should have gotten into it. I thought it was going to be easy. You do a movie and it s a big long thing; to do six half-hours you d think would be a cinch. But it s not: it s very, very hard.”
He continued that he’s floundering with the project, and feels the show is destined to be “a cosmic embarrassment.”
2. Why He Doesn’t Re-Watch His Films
“You can always see what you did wrong and why it s terrible,” Allen explained when asked if he ever reviews his old work. “I would shoot them all again if I could. I could improve them all.”
He echoed his sentiments in an interview with Deadline on Thursday: “I never saw Annie Hall again, or Bananas or Manhattan or any of them. Because, you can only have regrets. If I was to screen any of my films now I would only see what I could have done, what I did badly, where I screwed up, how much worse it is than the way I remembered it. You re never going to think “Oh, God, this thing is great.”
3. The Meaning of Life and Ebola
“We re all gonna wind up in a very bad position one day sooner or later,” Allen said, musing on the philosophy behind Irrational Man.
“The only way to deal with it as an artist is to try to come up with something to explain to people why life is worth living. You can t really do that without conning them because in the end it has no meaning,” he added morosely.
“Everything you create or do is going to vanish. The sun is burning out and the universe will be gone. Everything that Shakespeare or Beethoven created will all be gone no matter how much we cherish it. So it s very hard to sell people a bill of goods that there s any good to this.”
He then dragged Stone and Posey into his anxieties, imagining that if they weren’t working on his film, “They d be home or sitting on a beach thinking: ‘What is life about? I m gonna get old and I m gonna die and my loved ones are gonna die. Will I get Ebola?'”
Related: Mariel Hemingway Reveals Woody Allen Was Her First Kiss
4. No More Sequels
For all the fans of the Marvel series, Terminator movies, or even Toy Story 2, Woody Allen has a message for you:
“I think it s terrible,” he told Deadline about sequels. “I think movies have gone terribly wrong … and the big blockbusters for the most part are big time wasters. I don t see them. I can see what they are: eardrum-busting time wasters. I think Hollywood has gone in a disastrous path. It s terrible.”
Despite the decades of awards and accolades, Allen still doesn’t feel any closer to being one of the great artists in cinema.
When asked what his biggest struggle is as a creator, he told Deadline, “The constant desire to do something great and the knowledge that it s not really in me.”
Speaking of himself, he added, “You do not have greatness in you; you re not Kurosawa, or Fellini. You re a comic turned film director with a modest talent to amuse, to entertain. But true greatness is not in you.”