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Woody Allen calls Amazon series a ‘catastrophic mistake’

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Movie director and actor extraordinaire Woody Allen didn’t mince words when he told attendees at the Cannes film festival that creating a six-episode show for Amazon Prime was a “catastrophic mistake” for him, reports The Guardian.

Before you shrug the 79-year-old as being archaic and behind the times, he wasn’t referring to using the Amazon Prime service itself, or even the television format. He was alluding to the fact that he’s struggling with the format, as it’s one that’s unfamiliar to him. Allen admits that doing six episodes of television is actually much harder than he thought – perhaps more so than a single, two-hour film.

Related: Amazon to debut Woody Allen’s first ever TV series

If anything, that comment will give the television industry some much-deserved credit. TV has long been considered the lower end of the acting hierarchy, which starts with live theatre, then movies, and finally television, sometimes referred to as the “small screen.” But more and more A-list Hollywood actors are realizing the potential in television, which has the ability to tell a story in much more depth over multiple one-hour episodes versus compiling everything into a single film. There’s the ability to more deeply develop characters, fold in cliff-hangers, and enrich the story line with sub-plots. And, as Allen’s comments suggest, that also makes the writing and directing more involved, too.

The project is set to debut in 2016, but Allen isn’t expressing high hopes, even commenting that it will likely be a “cosmic embarrassment.” Well, if that isn’t a glowing endorsement…

That said, perhaps there is some truth to the earlier comment, as Allen admitted that he didn’t even know what Amazon Prime was, nor does he even own a computer. It might not be just the television format vs. big screen issue he’s grappling with, but also the challenge of how to appeal to the new type of viewer that streaming TV attracts.

Allen was in attendance to promote Irrational Man, his big-screen film starring Joaquin Phoenix as a philosophy professor who suffers from depression and seeks to attempt murder. It also stars Emma Stone and Parker Posey. We’re guessing Allen is much happier with this project.

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Christine Persaud
Christine has decades of experience in trade and consumer journalism. While she started her career writing exclusively about…
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