Woody Allen's Cannes nightmare: terrorism and journalists

 11 May 2016 - 14:25

Woody Allen's Cannes nightmare: terrorism and journalists
US director Woody Allen talks on May 11, 2016 during a press conference for the film "Cafe Society" ahead of the opening of the 69th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France. / AFP / LOIC VENANCE

Cannes, France: Cannes may be the world's most glamorous film festival, but for veteran American director Woody Allen, whose "Cafe Society" opens the jamboree on Wednesday, it is a trial by torment.

The 80-year-old New Yorker said it means he has to face down two of his biggest phobias -- terrorism and journalists.

With security in the Riviera resort at an unprecedented high six months after the Paris attacks, Allen told the film industry bible Variety that he worries about terrorism even "when I go to the supermarket or when I get the newspaper".

"I'm the world's biggest worrywart," he added. "I'm hypochondriacal when it comes to terrorism."

Nor is there any escaping reporters, with whom he has had a sometimes uneasy relationship. 

"I get off the plane (at Cannes) and I'm escorted instantly to interviews," he said. "I do wall-to-wall interviews until I leave. I can do as many as 100 journalists a day."

But while Allen dreads the media treadmill, his wife Soon-Yi, 45, loves Cannes.

"It's fun for my wife. She enjoys the people and the socialising -- going to lunch and dinner," he added. 

Later the director played down the baleful side of his fame. Whatever its inconveniences, Allen told reporters that "the paparazzi are not a life-threatening problem. The perks (of fame) are much more advantageous than the down sides."

"Cafe Society", a tale of young lovers in the Hollywood of the 1930s, stars Kristen Stewart, who made her name in the "Twilight" films.

But Allen has yet to see any of them. "I didn't see her in the vampire movie," he told the magazine. "I can't believe how movie illiterate I am."

And he said he was happy his film was not in the running for the Palme d'Or. 

"I don't believe in competition, for people to judge other people's work is not something I believe in. To be in competition would be against my common sense," said the director.