Woody Allenâ€™s new andâ€“ I think excellentâ€“ movie, â€œIrrational Man,â€ opens Friday in New York and Los Angeles. Yesterday, I moderated a press panel in the afternoon with Woody, actress Parker Posey, and actor Jamie Blackley. (Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix star, but theyâ€™re in LA.) Last night, Sony Pictures Classics held a swell premiere at the Palace Hotel on Madison Avenue, where Robert Klein, Caroline Rhea, Mischa Barton, Bob Balaban, Richard Kind and a slew of New York luminaries celebrated being â€œIrrational.â€
At the press panel, I asked Woody about Bette Midlerâ€™s actress daughter, Sophie von Haselberg, who makes her debut in the film. Iâ€™m so glad our Paula Schwartz was there to take notes:
On Sophie von Haselberg, Bette Midlerâ€™s daughter, who plays a student. You brought her up. She is making her film debut:
Woody Allen: Sheâ€™s wonderful. She came in with a lot of other women that read and sheâ€™s the spitting image of her and she was just goodâ€¦I thought she was so good that I combined her part. There was another part too and when I gave her the role, then I dropped the other character out of the movie and worked it so that she could have a double role, so she could appear more frequently cause she was impressiveâ€¦ She projects intelligence because sheâ€™s intelligent.
And Woody on all the good actors around and how he manages to get them in his movies. Heâ€™s still casting for his next film which begins shooting in August:
Woody: We start shooting in August, with Jesse Eisenberg, Parker, Kristin Stewart, Bruce Willis, Blake Lively Judy â€¦. Weâ€™re still casting. Thatâ€™s what we haveâ€¦Thereâ€™s an enormous amount of very talented actors and actresses around and not a lot of projects. I mean it seems like there are a lot of projects but thereâ€™s not. You can get actors, and very good actorsâ€¦.they donâ€™t get enough work, enough meaty workâ€¦a couple weeks there,something else in a blockbuster picture but theyâ€™re actors thereâ€™s a great supply.
Showbiz411: Theyâ€™re playing superheroes.
Woody: Those are very tempting pictures for enormous, enormous amounts of money and enormous recognitionâ€¦ and we offer, you know, most no frills counter situation but they will take it if they donâ€™tâ€™ have an offer from a blockbuster movie, theyâ€™ll take it. And they will take it because they like to act and if you give them something to act that isnâ€™t just running and ducking explosions and chasing cars. If they give a part to act theyâ€™ll do it. They have heart and they want to work and they know theyâ€™re actors, theyâ€™re artists, so if you give them something to sink their teeth into theyâ€™ll accept it and theyâ€™re willing to sacrifice the money.
How did he know Parker Posey:
Woody: I didnâ€™t. I knew the name. Everybody knows the name cause itâ€™s such a silly name.
Parker: My mother thought so too. She loved the name Parker and she married my and sheâ€™s like itâ€™s really silly. She named me Parker anyway.
Woody: It was actually Juliet Taylor, my casting director, who said sheâ€™d just run into Parker and chatted with her somewhere in Europe and that Parker seemed to her a very good possibility for this role and as soon as Parker came into our cutting room where we interview actors, the second we saw her, â€¦ I thought she was absolutely perfect for it and it turned out she was better than perfect. She made a contribution to the role far in excess of what I wrote. Very often you write a character and you write it and itâ€™s okay, and then you luck out and you get an actor or actress who brings something to itâ€¦ but the truth is the actor has brought some kind of (stamp), part of her personality really above and beyond the relativety bland character that you wroteâ€¦.
On Joaquin Phoenix who plays the titular character, Abe Lucas, a philosophy professor who is burned out and drinks too muchâ€“Emma Stone and Parker Poseyâ€™s characters â€“ each have affairs with him and are okay about it
Woody: They like him. Sheâ€™s (Posey) having an affair with him because she has an affair with everybody on campus and the kid, Emma, you know, is developing a crush on him because heâ€™s interesting. His neurosis is interesting. Heâ€™s very bright and heâ€™s all screwed up and you have the tendency to help those people, or, you know, heâ€™s a fascinating kind of guy and Joaquin has that built into him. If he was here now you would want to help him. Heâ€™s very charmingly erratic. I think I phrased that very tactfully.