ALL HAIL THE NEW WOODY
WOODY ALLEN FINDS A NEW SURROGATE IN CAFÉ SOCIETY
ORTY-SEVEN films into his glorious career, and Woody Allen may have finally found the new Woody Allen. Over the years, the Woodster has employed a number of hot young things, including John Cusack, Kenneth Branagh and Jason Biggs, as thinly veiled stand-ins for the real thing, but most have simply plumped for Woody impressions, while none have quite captured the blend of wit and existential panic of the real thing. But with his latest movie, Café Society, which opened the Cannes Film Festival in May, Allen’s search for a surrogate may have hit the mother lode in the form of Jesse Eisenberg. As Bobby Dorfman, a young man from the Bronx who seeks his fortune, and possible romance with Kristen Stewart, in the Hollywood of the 1930s, Eisenberg ploughs his own furrow while striking neurotic notes that seem quintessentially Allen.
“If I was Jesse’s age I probably would have played this role,” admits Allen. “But I could not have played it as interestingly as he played it. I would have played it as a comedian and it would have been very one-dimensional.”
Allen may feel he’s too old for frontof-camera duties, but behind the camera the old dog still knows a few tricks. It’s a period film, a rarity for him, while the plot allows Allen, one of the world’s most famous New Yorkers, to compare his home town and LA during one of America’s most iconic periods. “It’s an era that has always fascinated me,” he says. “In LA, there was a certain amount of it that was very glamorous because they had the movie stars, but New York had an all-night sophistication that Hollywood didn’t have.” Take that, LA.
CAFÉ SOCIETY IS OUT LATER THIS YEAR.