Before the first trailer for Woody Allen’s Irrational Man (debuting exclusively on EW.com and People.come), no one knew much about the director’s latest. It stars Joaquin Phoenix as an existentially troubled philosophy professor, Parker Posey as a colleague, and Emma Stone as a student.
Allen has always guarded his plots from the public, and this time—as he has with more than a few of his films in the past—he kept even his cast in the dark. Posey, for instance, had only 20 pages of the total script in her possession for the entire shoot. “I had no idea what the exact mood of the movie was,” she says. “I had no idea how I fit in or how the other characters thought of me.”
In the absence of a full script, Posey had to trust her director and her costars, especially Phoenix, whose acting style helped her follow her instincts. “He’s very in-the-moment, so I really enjoyed being in the water with him creatively,” she says.
Ironically, the fact that Phoenix was even in the movie was the first (and only) detail that leaked to the press. It didn’t make the 79-year-old director happy. When he called Posey about being in the film, she recalls, “Woody said, “We’re doing a movie this summer.’ I said, ‘I know. I saw it in the paper, with Joaquin Phoenix. He’s so incredible.’ ”
Allen replied, “Uh-oh.”
Irrational Man will debut at May’s Cannes Film Festival before opening in U.S. theaters on July 17.