Woody Allen in Venice: “I’ve Been Very Lucky My Whole Life”

Woody Allen met the international press at the Venice Film Festival on Monday to support his 50th film as a director, Coup de Chance. Premiering out of competition, Coup de Chance is about the important role chance and luck play in our lives. It is Allen’s first feature told entirely in French, with a cast of all French stars, including Lou de Laage, Valerie Lemercier, Melvil Poupaud and Niels Schneider.

Early in the Venice press conference, Allen was asked to reflect on the role luck — or the absence of it — has played in his own life.

“I’ve been very, very lucky my whole life,” Allen said. “I had two loving parents. I have good friends. I have a wonderful wife and marriage and children — and I’ve never been in the hospital. I’ve never had anything terrible happen to me.”

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He continued: “And I’ve had — over my lifetime — much undeserved praise and an enormous amount of attention and respect. And so, I’ve had nothing but, you know, good fortune. And I hope it holds out.”

“Of course, it’s early this afternoon,” he quipped.

Coup De Chance follows Fanny (de Laage) and Jean (Poupaud), who look like the ideal married couple — both professionally accomplished, they live in a gorgeous apartment in an exclusive neighborhood of Paris, and they seem to be in love just as much as they were when they first met. But when Fanny accidentally bumps into Alain (Schneider), a former high school classmate, she’s swept off her feet. They soon see each other again and get closer and closer.

Over the past several years, in the wake of the #MeToo movement and the resurfacing of Dylan Farrow’s abuse allegations, Allen has gone from being one of U.S. cinema’s most revered directors and comedians to struggling to secure financing stateside for his work. European audiences and film companies have continued to embrace him, however. Coup de Chance‘s inclusion in Venice is the director’s most prominent festival platform Allen has received in years, and the film will be released in France by distributor Metropolitan Filmexport on Sept. 27.

Allen’s Coup de Chance was originally intended as a New York-set project, but Allen adapted his script for France both out of a need for financing and a desire to shoot there again. His controversial reputation in the U.S. went entirely unmentioned during the press conference — Venice Film Festival director Alberto Barbera has repeatedly defended Allen, telling AFP this week that it’s “absolutely incomprehensible” to him why Americans have turned against the director — but near the end of the briefing Allen was asked whether he thinks he might ever make a film in New York City again, the setting of his most influential works.

“I’ve got a very good idea for [a film in] New York,” Allen said. “And if some guy steps out of the shadows and says they’ll finance my film in New York and agree to my terrible restrictions — they can’t read the script, can’t know who’s in it…just give me the money and go away. If some foolish person agrees to that, I will make the film in New York.”

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