You’ll be glad to hear that Woody Allen sleeps great. “Like a dead person,” he told the Hollywood Reporter, in a recent interview out today. He also shared some thoughts about how he Pygmalion-ed his wife into a sophisticated lady, and a few ominous hints about a new TV show he’s making with Miley Cyrus, who once caught his eye on a TV show his children used to watch. (The show was Hannah Montana, just in case you still weren’t sure what to think about Woody Allen!)
It’s really never a good idea for Allen to talk to the press, but the Hollywood Reporter interview is really something, even by those standards. Back in July, Allen could be found boasting about his “paternal” relationship with his wife Soon-Yi Previn, who was his previous wife Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter. This time around, Allen told Stephen Galloway all about how he’s been able to make Previn’s life better, turning her into “a different person.” Heartwarming.
The whole exchange, which really must be read in full:
How has your wife, Soon-Yi, changed you?
Oh, well, one of the great experiences of my life has been my wife. She had a very, very difficult upbringing in Korea: She was an orphan on the streets, living out of trash cans and starving as a 6-year-old. And she was picked up and put in an orphanage. And so I’ve been able to really make her life better. I provided her with enormous opportunities, and she has sparked to them. She’s educated herself and has tons of friends and children and got a college degree and went to graduate school, and she has traveled all over with me now. She’s very sophisticated and has been to all the great capitals of Europe. She has just become a different person. So the contributions I’ve made to her life have given me more pleasure than all my films.
You’re saying how you changed her. How has she changed you?
(Allen pauses.) Well, she’s given me a lot of pleasure. I adore her, and she’s given me a wonderful life. We’ve been married 20 years. And we were together for a few years before that. And she has given me the great years of my life, personally. She’s a great companion and a great wife. She has given me a stable and wonderful home life and great companionship. I guess whenever you meet somebody and they’re the right person for you, there is a great emotional contribution they make to your life.
But has she changed you in any way?
(Pauses.) Changed me? I don’t know if you could say she changed me. I don’t know if I’ve changed. I might be the same person I was when I was 20. I’m not sure. I mean, I seem to have the same habits, the same work habits, the same phobias, the same enjoyments. I don’t think I have changed much over the years at all. When you mention it, I try and think about the ways [I’ve changed]. I don’t know if I’ve changed much.
The interview didn’t touch on the allegations by Farrow’s daughter Dylan that Allen molested her as a child. But he does tell Galloway he doesn’t read anything about himself:
I never, ever, ever read anything about myself. Not my interviews, not stories about me. I never, ever read any criticism of my films. I scrupulously have avoided any self-preoccupation. When I first started, that was not the case. [But now I] just pay attention to the work and don’t read about how great I am or what a fool I am.
Sounds right. That also includes not reading any criticism about beginning an affair with his wife’s daughter. Allen assures Galloway the “scandal” over that incident didn’t bug him at all, that he was in fact “immune” to the criticism (“I’m good that way. I am very disciplined and very monomaniacal and compartmentalized.”)
And finally, while we don’t know much yet about the new Woody Allen series starring Miley Cyrus, we do know how he found her:
I noticed years ago that my kids would be watching Hannah Montana. And I would say: “Who is that girl? She’s got such a good delivery. You know, she snaps those lines off so well. The show is a silly little show, but she’s very good at what she does.” And then she emerged as a singer, and someone showed me a little clip of hers from Saturday Night Live, and I said, “It confirms what I always thought about her: She is very good, she is really a talented girl.”
The show is a “domestic comedy” starring the two of them and Elaine May, who is 84. Allen is 80. I would guess at which of these women will be his love interest, but I am frankly too scared to do so.
Allen and Previn. Photo via Getty