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Woody Allen denies he’ll retire from directing after 50th film

His next feature will shoot in Paris later this month

By Joe Goggins

Woody Allen at the Tribeca Film Festival, New York City, 2009
Allen will turn his attention to his first novel. (Photo: David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons)

Woody Allen has denied reports that he will retire after completing his 50th film, which will shortly commence shooting in Paris.

After he appeared to tell Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia that his next movie would be his last, a spokesperson for the director told The Independent:

“Woody Allen never said he was retiring, nor did he say he was writing another novel. He said he was thinking about not making films as making films that go straight or very quickly to streaming platforms is not so enjoyable for him, as he is a great lover of the cinema experience. Currently, he has no intention of retiring and is very excited to be in Paris shooting his new movie.”

The director, who is 86, began his work as a filmmaker with Take the Money and Run in 1969, and has produced almost one movie a year ever since. In recent years, he has been dogged by the reassertion of accusations by his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, that he sexually assaulted her as a child.

Allen’s flat denial of the claims, along with comments he made in 2017 that were interpreted as sympathetic to convicted sex abuser Harvey Weinstein, saw Amazon tear up a lucrative multi-film deal with him, a contract signed as he was experiencing a late-career upswing with the Oscar-winning likes of Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine.

He subsequently returned to Europe, where he also shot the likes of To Rome with Love and Vicky Cristina Barcelona and remains in high esteem, to film 2020’s ‘Rifkin’s Festival’, albeit with a considerably less starry cast than he has become accustomed to; a slew of A-listers, including Timothée Chalamet, Greta Gerwig and Colin Firth, have distanced themselves from him.

He had hinted that he had become disillusioned with filmmaking in the streaming age in an Instagram Live talk with Alec Baldwin back in June. In the interview with La Vanguardia, meanwhile, he had appeared to confirm that he planned to fold up the director’s chair after completing his 50th movie, which begins filming in Paris in two weeks’ time and will be his first feature shot entirely in French.

“My idea, in principle, is not to make more films and focus on writing,” he said. “Now I’m thinking more about a novel.” Having previously published several short story collections, Allen returned to the format in June with Zero Gravity, and also published an autobiography, Apropos of Nothing, in 2020.

The novel would not necessarily follow the comedic bent of his previous published works, he said. “If I had a very serious idea, I would not hesitate to do the same thing I did in some of my films, the so-called serious ones.”

His next feature will apparently be in that vein, with Allen comparing it tonally to his uncharacteristically dark 2005 meditation on randomness and chance, Match Point, in which a tennis coach’s affair with an aspiring actress sees his life spiral out of control. “It will be similar,” said Allen. “Exciting, dramatic, and also sinister.”