7 Eye-Opening Woody Allen Quotes In A New Interview

He talks about his "paternal" relationship to his wife, why it requires no work, and his eventual death

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The best thing about NPR's new interview with Woody Allen is the filmmaker's total honesty. The worst thing about NPR's new interview with Woody Allen is the filmmaker's total honesty.

It's an exceptionally well-conducted interview with a very complex man who has managed to spend the past five decades directing some of the best movies ever made (and more than his fair share of total stinkers). Unfortunately, some of those complexities come from strange, dark, and well-documented places.

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On display in this interview is a man who has never stopped battling his neuroses, a man who can't say or do anything without sounding obnoxiously old-fashioned, fatalist, or just plain creepy.

So, without further ado, here are the strange, revealing lines from Allen's NPR interview.


On any relationship that requires actual work, from the guy who started sleeping with his former partner's 21-year-old adopted daughter when he was 56:

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If you feel that you have to work at it – a constant business of looking the other way, sweeping stuff under the rug, compromising – it's not working.

On his "paternal" relationship with Soon-Yi Previn (the adopted daughter), and why it works by apparently requiring no work:

I'm 35 years older, and somehow, through no fault of mine or hers, the dynamic worked. I was paternal. She responded to someone who was paternal.

How he can make that previous statement become even creepier:

She deferred to me, and I was happy to give her an enormous amount of decision-making just as a gift and let her take charge of so many things. She flourished. It was just a good luck thing.

And he doesn't stop:

She enjoyed being introduced to many, many things that I knew from experience, and I enjoyed showing her those things. She took them, and outstripped me in certain areas that I showed her. That's why I'm a big believer in luck. I feel that you can't orchestrate those things.

On his first wife, Harlene Rosen, who was apparently the human equivalent of food poisoning:

My wife was a nice, smart person, but I would sometimes become nauseated during the night and I kept thinking it was the food. "Oh, I shouldn't have eaten at the Chinese restaurant, the Italian food." It was anxiety, and when someone finally pointed it out to me that it wasn't the food causing me those stomach problems, it was a big help.

On you, me, and every other person on the planet dying:

I think some of them are wonderful, but they are so many of them that are not. I was one of the few guys rooting for the comet to hit the Earth. Statistically, more people that deserved to go would go.

On his legacy (aka how death comes for us all and no one cares about you once you're rotting in the ground):

People always ask me this now that I'm turning 80, but I don't really care. It wouldn't matter to me, aside from the royalties to my kids, if they took all my films and dumped them. You and I could be standing over [William] Shakespeare's grave, singing his praises, and it doesn't mean a thing. You're extinct.

This article was originally published on Esquire.com


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