Just a Minute With: Woody Allen for "Vicky Cristina"

Thu Aug 14, 2008 4:55pm EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Woody Allen has long been considered a genius of U.S. cinema with a list of writing credits dating to the 1960s and "What's New Pussycat," as well as directing "Sleeper," and "Hannah and Her Sisters."

He won the best director Oscar for 1977's "Annie Hall" and was nominated for writing 2005's "Match Point."

In recent years, critics have spurned much of Allen's work. But that is not true of his newest romantic comedy, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," which opens in the United States on Friday and has earned good reviews.

The movie tells of the romantic affairs of two American tourists (Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall) and two Spanish artists (Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem). Allen took a few minutes to talk to Reuters about the film and his life.

Q: You used to shoot only in New York and more recently have filmed in London. So, why the change to Barcelona?

A: I had a germ of the story and I knew it could work in an exotic city. Barcelona started saying, "We'll finance a film. Come and do it." I bet the story would work fine in Barcelona. It doesn't have to be Paris, doesn't have to be Rome. Barcelona is now one of the most enchanting cities in Europe.

Q: And Penelope Cruz came to you about her role as the eccentric -- some might say crazy -- artist.

A: She came by my work and said she knew I was doing a movie in Spain and that she'd love to participate. She's so beautiful and such a strong actress. I thought I should sign her now while she's interested before she changes her mind.   Continued...

<p>Woody Allen, director of the film "Vicky Cristina Barcelona", poses with fans at the film's premiere in Los Angeles August 4, 2008. Picture taken August 4. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>