By Crispian Balmer
VENICE (Reuters) -U.S. director Woody Allen presented his 50th film to the Venice Film Festival on Monday, telling reporters he had had a “very, very lucky life”, making no reference to the scandals that have dogged his latter years.
“I have had nothing but good fortune and I hope it holds out, although obviously it is early this afternoon,” he told reporters ahead of the premiere of his first French-language film, “Coup de Chance”.
“I had two loving parents, I have good friends, I have a wonderful wife and marriage, two children. In a few months I will be 88 years old. I have never been in a hospital. I have never had anything terrible happen to me,” he said.
The four-time Oscar-winning director of “Annie Hall” and other comedies has had a turbulent personal life that has seen him increasingly shunned by many celebrities and executives in Hollywood.
He hit the headlines in the 1990s following his affair and marriage to Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his former lover, Mia Farrow, as well as sex abuse accusations by their adopted daughter Dylan Farrow. He has always denied the accusations and was never charged.
Allen and Soon-Yi, who have a 35-year age difference, are still married and have two adopted daughters.
In a separate interview to Variety on the sidelines of the film festival, Allen said he supported the #MeToo movement, which has brought intense focus to sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry. But he added that it could also become “silly … When it’s being too extreme”.
The Venice Film Festival was denounced by some critics for giving Allen a prestigious slot for his new movie, and a small group of protesters demonstrated noisily as he arrived on the red carpet ahead of the premiere of his film, chanting “abusers” and scuffling with police.
The red carpet arrivals continued unhindered and the group were soon removed from in front of the Lido cinema, witnesses said.
Allen originally intended to cast U.S. actors in the main roles, but said he had always been inspired by European filmmakers so was happy to switch languages, even though he doesn’t speak French.
“It was very simple. If you watch a Japanese film, you can tell if the acting is good, realistic and natural, or if it is dramatic and silly and too exaggerated. It is the same thing here,” he said.
Like many of his films, “Coup de Chance” draws inspiration from the themes of love, adultery and death. However, Allen said it was not worth dwelling too long on death.
“There is nothing you can do about it. It is a bad deal and you are stuck with it,” he said.
Allen has previously suggested “Coup de Chance” might be his final movie. However, on Monday he said he had a good idea for a story based in his native New York and would make it if he could find a backer willing to accept his terms — not to read the script or to know whom he had cast.
“If some foolish person agrees to that, then I will make the film in New York,” he said.
(Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Alison Williams and Sandra Maler)