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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Old man Woody Allen still wants to be one who gets the girl

ANI  New York, June 18, 2012
First Published: 13:59 IST(18/6/2012) | Last Updated: 16:59 IST(18/6/2012)

Woody Allen’s various connections to high-profile actresses much younger to him have been a mainstay of his career, but “while he gets older, they stay the same age”.

When the director was spotted leaving posh Upper East Side restaurant Philippe with Lindsay Lohan, tongues wagged weather the actress was poised to become his new “It” girl.

“That was a social dinner,” the New York Post quoted him as saying.

“But I wouldn’t hesitate to use her in a movie because she’s very talented,” he said.

Some were surprised he’d even think about casting such a notorious train wreck, but nobody raised an eyebrow at the idea of 76-year-old Allen hanging out with a woman five decades younger.

Allen cast Scarlett Johansson in three films and Penelope Cruz in two, including this week’s ‘To Rome With Love’. Other muses include Mia Farrow, Diane Keaton, Lindsay Lohan, Mariel Hemingway, Rachel McAdams and Chloe Sevigny.

His new film, ‘To Rome With Love’, features a pair of choice Allen muses – Penelope Cruz, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for his 2008 movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and Greta Gerwig, the indie-film darling who has publicly raved about her Allen worship, saying the director was one of the reasons she moved to New York.

“I’ve been in love with Woody Allen since I was 13,” Greta Gerwig told Collider magazine.

“It was some weird combination of Woody Allen, Steve Martin and Bill Murray. It’s like my dream man,” Gerwig said.

From creative and romantic partnerships with Diane Keaton in the ’70s and Mia Farrow in the ’80s to palling around with Scarlett Johansson in recent years, Allen’s always had a gorgeous, intelligent muse or two in his orbit.

Aside from the obvious ego boost, perhaps the youth and beauty of the actresses helped distract him from his well-documented issues with mortality.

Whatever the case, young Mariel Hemingway might have set the template for the mutual admiration societies he establishes with actresses.

“In real life, Woody and I didn’t have a romantic relationship, but he did make me feel incredibly intelligent,” the actress said recently about working with the director on 1979’s ‘Manhattan’.

“He took me to museums and concerts. He gave me his wisdom, and you can see that in the character,” she said.

But her co-star in that film, Johansson, was the one who really basked in the glow of Allen’s admiration. Having already made Match Point and Scoop with him in 2005 and 2006, respectively, she led some to wonder if she was his new Keaton.

Allen was upfront about his infatuation with Johansson.

“It’s very hard to be extra witty around a sexually overwhelming, beautiful young woman who is wittier than you are,” he said.

But the friendship is apparently based more on shared eccentricities, like hypochondria, than flirtation, as she recently revealed.

“The only reason why Woody and I are still friends is because I’ve diagnosed all kinds of his skin tags, lesions, ailments,” Johansson said.

The malady-obsessed duo parted ways after Vicky Cristina because, as the director recently told Vanity Fair, “I have every intention of working with her again, but I just didn’t think it was a great idea for either one of us to work together too intensely, picture after picture. I didn’t want her to be burdened by, ‘Oh, she’s in all the Woody Allen pictures, it’s so predictable,’ and she’s my new muse, and all that silliness.”

The self-effacing Allen also admits he’s not pleased about this development, which may explain why he continues to entertain Hollywood beauties — at least they’ll swoon over his genius off-screen.

“It’s no fun not playing the guy who gets the girl,” he said.

“You can imagine how frustrating it is when I do these movies with Scarlett Johansson and Naomi Watts, and the other guys get them. And I’m the director. I’m the, you know, that old guy over there is the director.

“I don’t like that. I like being the one that sits across from them in the restaurant and looks in their eyes and lies to them,” he added.

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