Woody Allen tells Alec Baldwin ‘the thrill has gone’ – and we know the feeling

·3 min read
Alec Baldwin (left) and Woody Allen - AP
Alec Baldwin (left) and Woody Allen - AP

Woody Allen has called time on his film career. “I’ll probably make one more movie, but a lot of the thrill has gone,” he announced during an interview with Alec Baldwin, in the Droopy Dog manner that is his trademark.

Age is a factor – “I’m 86 years old and I like staying home” – but Allen’s bigger gripe is that his films no longer play in cinemas for months on end in this age of home entertainment. “Now you do a movie and you get a couple of weeks in a movie house, maybe six weeks or four weeks or two, and then it goes right to streaming or pay-per-view,” he lamented.

Hmm. Might there be another reason why Allen’s films aren’t playing to packed houses night after night? After his daughter, Dylan, reasserted claims that he had sexually abused her as a child – allegations which Allen categorically denies – his career has tanked. Actors who starred in his films, from Michael Caine and Kate Winslet to Colin Firth and Timothee Chalamet, have declared that they will never work with him again. (There is also the small matter of Allen not making a good film in years – how many people bothered to see his last, Rifkin’s Festival, which was summed up by the Rotten Tomatoes website as “a truly lesser late-period effort”?)

One of the few actors to stick by Allen is Baldwin, one of Hollywood’s loose cannons, who hosted this Instagram Live interview and heaved the elephant right out of the room. Baldwin, of course, has troubles of his own: he now lives in the shadow of the on-set shooting of Halyna Hutchins, a cinematographer who was killed last year when the prop gun in Baldwin’s hand fired a live round.

Neither of these controversies were referenced in the interview. Instead, Baldwin – wearing a golf visor indoors, for reasons known only to himself – talked about film and theatre and how much he loves Allen’s books (this interview was promoting the director’s new collection of essays, Zero Gravity). This brave stab at citizen journalism was frequently derailed by Allen’s screen freezing, which led to 30 Rock-style scenes in which a frustrated Baldwin yelled at someone in Spanish – his wife? His housekeeper? – to fix Allen’s wi-fi connection.

Alec Baldwin and Woody Allen during their Instagram Live interview
Alec Baldwin and Woody Allen during their Instagram Live interview

Mostly, it was an interview which showed how deeply Allen wants to live in the past. He doesn’t watch Netflix or any other streaming service, limiting his television viewing to baseball and the news and films on Turner Classics. When he spoke about going to the cinema, it was as if the last 60 years had never happened: “You go to your seat and there on the big screen is Humphrey Bogart or Rita Hayworth or Fred Astaire…”

The pandemic suited this hypochondriac down to the ground. “I was in the house like everybody else, petrified, hiding under the bed. I didn’t go out for months. And then I started to think, hey, I like it under the bed.” Still, he’s venturing out in September to shoot his next film – and his last, if we are to believe him – in Paris.

Perhaps it will be a masterpiece. More likely it will be released to outright hostility from some, and general indifference from the rest, and the only place happy to promote it with no difficult questions asked will be Alec Baldwin’s Instagram.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting