February 17, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST

The elusive writer-director of Metropolitan hasn’t made a film since 1998’s Last Days of Disco. We tracked him down in Paris.

What made you move to France? Rent. The weekend that Disco came out was the end of my lease for an inexpensive SoHo loft. So I was priced out of Manhattan.

But you’re such a New York director! Do you miss the city? Um…uh…[laughs] no. But I’d like to spend more time in the States. I’d like to get to know California better.

What are you working on now? I did a novel based on Disco that came out in 2000. And now, instead of working on one script, I’m working on three or four. One’s really far along, and I hope to have a film going soon.

What’s it about? I make a rule of not talking about things until I’m about to shoot them, but the subject matter couldn’t be more different from my previous films. It’s not set in the U.S. It doesn’t have American characters.

You were 37 when you made Metropolitan. How old are you now? I’m aged. I’m, like, 87. I’m a late bloomer. I hit my stride in high school in spring term of senior year. When I reach retirement age, I’m really gonna click.

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