The premise sounds juicily self-referential: A fallen movie director (Allen) gets a chance to make a big-budget picture, thanks to the pull his ex-wife (Leoni) has with her new beau, a bottom-line-minded studio chief (Williams). But don’t expect a semiautobiographical story from former tabloid target Allen. He aims for broad yuks in a plot built around his character going temporarily blind from anxiety — and having to direct the film sightless.
Leoni says she felt her own share of ”dripping sweat” agita on the set, thanks to Allen’s penchant for winging it by junking scripted scenes in favor of improvised replacements. Still, she grew to love working fast. ”You don’t shoot 12 hours and then oopsie, four more in overtime, like on most movies,” says Leoni. ”He says, ‘Fine, moving on.’ You’re wrapped by 2 p.m. so you can have a good Italian lunch. You’re thinking, things must be going well.”
And how was it filming passionate on-screen kisses with the 66-year-old Allen? ”He’s very sexy,” insists the 36-year-old wife of David Duchovny. ”I’ll never be able to explain it fully. He has a real command of his physical presence that’s very attractive. It’s not hard to see why he’s managed to — what’s a politer way to say ‘bed down’? — some of the hottest women in the world.”