The director cast the former child star based on her breakout role
Credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images; Bob D'Amico/Disney Channel

Woody Allen first paid attention to Miley Cyrus when she had the best of both worlds.

The 80-year-old director, who’s working on a limited-run comedy for Amazon that stars Cyrus, Elaine May, and himself, told The Hollywood Reporter he cast Cyrus based on her performance on the Disney Channel series. Though Cyrus has distanced herself from the show since — she joked that Montana has been “chopped up into little tiny pieces and buried in my backyard” — her breakout role drew Allen into meeting and quickly adding her to his television project.

“I noticed years ago that my kids would be watching Hannah Montana. And I would say: ‘Who is that girl? She’s got such a good delivery. You know, she snaps those lines off so well. The show is a silly little show, but she’s very good at what she does,'” he recalls. “And then she emerged as a singer, and someone showed me a little clip of hers from Saturday Night Live, and I said, ‘It confirms what I always thought about her. She is very good, she is really a talented girl.'”

The still untitled series is set in the 1960s and will consist of six half-hour episodes, Allen says, while adding that working in television has been more challenging than he anticipated. “You’re working in a medium that has grown up and has got wonderful things being done in it,” he admits. “You may prove to be an embarrassment, but you don’t want to be a total embarrassment.”

Head over to The Hollywood Reporter for Allen’s complete interview.

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