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Woody Allen disses lazy directors

He doesn’t understand why everyone can’t make a movie a year

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Woody Allen
Stephen Trupp/STAR MAX, Inc.

Some directors like to take their time: It’s been two years since James Cameron’s ”Titanic” with no next movie in sight; ”The Insider” was Michael Mann’s first film since 1995’s ”Heat”; and Stanley Kubrick… well, enough said. But Woody Allen has barely budged from his movie-per-year schedule since 1977 (his 1999 entry, the 1930s jazz comedy ”Sweet and Lowdown” with Sean Penn, opens Friday), and when it comes to his slower peers, he can’t understand the holdup. ”Those directors who do a movie every four years, they’re lazy and unproductive,” Allen, 64, says. ”They do a project and dine out on it for years. They start to set up their next project, and they sit and meet with a writer, and then another writer, and they go to lunch with a movie star, and all this is busy work and keeps them going to restaurants and telling people they’re doing things.”

Allen’s 30-film output may seem prodigious to some, but he doesn’t see it that way. ”To me it’s no big deal,” he says. ”If you’re a writer, even if you do two pages a day, it still only takes three months to write a script. I have eight weeks of preproduction, and three months of shooting, and I’m finished. Now with Avid digital editing I can edit in two weeks, easily. Then I take in my jazz records, put in the music, the film is over. I turn it over to the sound effects editor, he puts in the door slams, and I’m off.”

This all adds up to nine months a year of moviemaking, and even the remaining three are too much for Allen to just sit and ponder his next project. ”Let’s say I finish a movie on a Friday,” he says. ”I enjoy myself on the weekend. The next week, I go to the Knicks game, and I play with my band, I go to movies with my wife, I go out to dinner. People in show business who tell you they’re working so hard have no concept of what a cab driver or a guy who’s working a jackhammer does… comes in every day of his life and works eight hours. In show business the work is easy and you’re so pampered, so making movies is no big accomplishment.”