Why I love London.
He's famous for being an angst-ridden workaholic who never steps outside his beloved New York. But in this exclusive interview, Woody Allen talks about spending this summer filming in London - and how he's never been so happy.
Simon Garfield, Sunday August 8, 2004
'You have such beautiful skies,' Woody Allen said last week at the completion of another scene in another film, 'when they're overcast.' Allen and his crew had been looking up at the skies above West Kensington all morning, hoping for cloud. They were at Queen's Club, surrounded by the lush tennis courts and white-cottoned members trying not to appear too interested as a small 68-year-old man in a frayed green baseball cap moved among them. 'I never shoot in the sun if I can help it because everything looks much better without it,' the director continued. 'The sun has been the bane of my existence.'
Allen's crew wear laminated passes bearing the letters WASP 04 - the Woody Allen Summer Project, the 36th such project in his career. They have filmed in Belgravia and the Fulham Road, in St James's Park and Tate Modern, and everywhere they've been people are thrilled to see them. Passers-by ring up friends on their mobiles: Woody Allen filming in our street! Scarlett Johansson looking beautiful! Woody much smaller in real life! 'Occasionally people ask me for autographs and I give them,' the recipient of this adulation says. 'People are so nice to me. If only everyone who is so keen to see me would go to see my movies!'
WASP 04 is still a mystery, even to those on set. Allen will only say who's in it (Johansson, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Emily Mortimer, Matthew Goode) and what it's vaguely about, which turns out to be the same as almost all his other movies - human relationships and their consequences. In his famous style, the actors only get to see their own scenes, and the producers even less. As the only person who knows quite what film he is trying to make, Allen says he is happy with progress, 'but I hope it's not just that the English voices are so beautiful to my ear that they cover a multitude of my sins.'
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