Woody Allen's 'Esquire' Interview Yields Some Of His Best Quotes Yet
Thanks to his newest movie, Blue Jasmine, which continues to receive rave reviews from critics and take in impressive amounts of money at the box office, Woody Allen is having a pretty great summer. If, like us, you can't get enough of the writer/director's trademark neuroses, you're in luck — the veteran filmmaker, 77, sat down with Esquire to complete one of the magazine's famous "What I've Learned" interviews, and predictably, the resulting quotes are fascinating. The five best takeaways, below:
1. His hypochondria is genetic.
"My dad didn't even teach me how to shave — I learned that from a cabdriver. But the biggest lesson he imparted is that if you don't have your health, you have nothing. No matter how great things are going for you, if you have a toothache, if you have a sore throat, if you're nauseated, or, God forbid, you have some serious thing wrong with you — everything is ruined."
2. And so is his work ethic.
"My mother taught me a value — rigid discipline. My father didn't earn enough, and my mother took care of the money and the family, and she had no time for lightness. She always saw the glass a third full. She taught me to work and not to waste time."
3. He hates his own movies.
"I never see a frame of anything I've done after I've done it. I don't even remember what's in the films. And if I'm on the treadmill and I'm surfing the channels and suddenly Manhattan or some other picture comes on, I go right past it. If I saw Manhattan again, I would only see the worst. I would say: 'Oh, God, this is so embarrassing. I could have done this. I should have done that.' So I spare myself."
4. He probably doesn't eat ice cream. Or burgers. Or cronuts.
"I haven't had a frankfurter in, I would say, 45 years. I don't eat enjoyable foods. I eat for my health."
5. And in case you didn't realize, he's a pessimist.
"It's just an accident that we happen to be on earth, enjoying our silly little moments, distracting ourselves as often as possible so we don't have to really face up to the fact that, you know, we're just temporary people with a very short time in a universe that will eventually be completely gone. And everything that you value, whether it's Shakespeare, Beethoven, da Vinci, or whatever, will be gone. The earth will be gone. The sun will be gone. There'll be nothing."
The entire interview is well worth the read, and so is the author's piece on what it was like to meet and talk to Allen. It's always fascinating to learn what goes on in the minds of one of the world's most prolific filmmakers, even if reading about how he writes every single day to create a movie a year makes you feel like the laziest person in the world.