Woody Allen expects his 50th film to be his last: 'The thrill is gone'

Woody Allen says making movies "is not as enjoyable to me as it was" — and his 50th film, which he'll helm this fall, will likely be his last.

There was zero mention of any of the controversy surrounding the director in his interview with Alec Baldwin on Tuesday. And while actors Allen has worked with in the past have distanced themselves from him amid his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow's resurfaced sexual-abuse allegations, he didn't touch on that at all when talking about how "the thrill is gone" from movie-making.

Allen said that films having a short life in theaters before moving to streaming is "one of the things that discourages" him from making new films — and then COVID hit and solidified that feeling.

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"When the pandemic came, I was in the house, like everybody else — petrified, hiding under the bed and I didn't go out for months," Allen said. "I couldn't make a movie that I planned to make. After a few months went by, I started to think: 'Gee, I like it under the bed. I don't have to go out. I don't have to make a film. I don't have to be ... up at 5 o'clock in the morning and making decisions all day long.'"

He said he spent his days exercising, playing the clarinet and writing — his new book, Zero Gravity — and at 86 he's decided he "likes staying home."

“I'll probably make at least one more movie, but a lot of the thrill is gone," he said. "When I started, you'd do a film and it would go into movie houses all across the country. ... Now you do a movie and you get a couple weeks in a movie house — maybe six weeks, four weeks, whatever — and then it goes right to streaming or pay-per-view. And people love staying home with their big screens and watching on their television sets and they have good sound and a clear picture."

He added, "It’s not the same as when I went into the movie business. So it's not as enjoyable to me as it was. I don't get the same fun. ... I don’t know how I feel about making movies. I'm going to make another one and see how it feels."

The film he'll be making this fall will shoot in Paris. While many of his films were set in New York, he has found that leaving the city he calls home to make films in Europe has been enjoyable. He noted his wife of nearly 25 years, Soon-Yi Previn, "always looks forward to spending three or four months in London or Paris or Barcelona. We have many friends abroad. It's a nice experience."

The director told Baldwin — who appeared in several of Allen's films, including 1990's Alice, 2012's To Rome With Love and 2013's Blue Jasmine — that if he ceases making films, he'll "turn to writing," which he has done all along, not just in his films but in numerous books and magazine pieces.

The Instagram Live was riddled with technical difficulties with Baldwin asking Allen's team at one point if they were in the best room for Wi-Fi. Allen keep freezing, then cutting out before they'd reconnect. The director admitted he wasn't hip on social media, quipping at one point, "I'm not sure what Instagram is." Baldwin also made a point to turn off the comments, knowing Allen would be blasted throughout.

Alec Baldwin disabled comments for his Instagram Live with Woody Allen. (Screenshot: Alec Baldwin via Instagram)
Alec Baldwin disabled comments for his Instagram Live with Woody Allen. (Screenshot: Alec Baldwin via Instagram)

Baldwin, 64, made it clear when he announced the interview on Monday that it would not be to discuss the controversy around Allen, who was accused in 1992 of sexually abusing his then-7-year-old adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, shared with ex-girlfriend Mia Farrow. Allen, who wasn't charged but lost custody of Dylan and two siblings, has denied the allegations. He went on to marry one of Farrow's other adopted children, Previn, who's 35 years his junior. In 2014, Dylan published an open letter in The New York Times, shining a new spotlight on her claims, and the allegations were the subject of the 2021 HBO Max docuseries Allen v. Farrow.

Baldwin and Allen are long-time friends, dating back to the late 1980s when they first worked together. When Allen v. Farrow came out last year, Baldwin publicly slammed the project, saying, "Who needs courtrooms or rule of law when we have trial by media?" Several months later, as Baldwin found himself at the center of controversy after the fatal Rust shooting, he was photographed visiting Allen's NYC home.

While Baldwin is supportive of Allen, many actors — including Colin Firth, Kate Winslet and Timothée Chalamet — who previously worked with Allen have distanced themselves from him. Allen, for his part, has called those actors "well-meaning but foolish" and said they are "persecuting a perfectly innocent person" and "enabling this lie."