Woody Allen came to town today to promote his latest movie You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger, which plays here Out of Competition. Anthony Hopkins, who didn’t come to Cannes, portrays a man who dumps his wife for a younger woman. This is familiar territory for Allen, who normally plays the older man himself. Allen as usual claimed his films are not autobiographical, shrugging that stories about older men chasing younger women were just funny. He confessed he wished he could still play the romantic lead, but said he was just too old. “There’s no advantage to getting older. You don’t get wiser. All that happens is that your back hurts more and you don’t see so well. I would advise you not to do it if you can avoid it.”
The rest of the press conference felt more like Allen lying on a psychiatrist’s couch being analyzed by more than 100 journalists. Asked for his thoughts about death, Allen quipped, “My relationship with death remains the same. I’m strongly against it.” About the alternative, he noted, “I feel that life is a grim, painful, nightmare experience. The only way you can be happy is by telling yourself lies. You have to cling on to delusions in order to live.” Allen was flanked by his stars Josh Brolin and Naomi Watts, who joked that she wished Woody was her therapist.
In the press conference, Woody also tore into psychics and fortune tellers, the subject of his new movie, and dismissed them as frauds. “It’s all quackery, humbug, and charlatanism,” he said. “It’s a billion dollar industry that takes advantage of people when they’re most vulnerable.”