He's brilliant at portraying neurotics of all kinds. But the multitalented director, whose new movie is Cassandra's Dream, swears he's actually quite normal. Woody Allen will now take your questions
What is your favorite borough of New York City? Leo Khokhlov, St. Petersburg, Russia
Manhattan, because it was the glamour spot of my childhood. I grew up in Brooklyn, which is another great borough, but Manhattan [had] the jazz joints, most of the great movie houses and Central Park. The second I could move out of my parents' house, I moved to Manhattan and have lived here my whole life.
I understand that you are more of a musician than a singer. But is there one song you like to belt out in the shower? Rohit Sang, New York City
My rendition of Easy to Love by Cole Porter is as good as one could hearin the shower. Outside of the shower, I start to have some problems.
You've worked with everyone. But has anyone ever said, "No thanks. I'll pass"? Colette Harlowe, County Mayo, Ireland
There is a myth that any actor will drop whatever they're doing and work with me. Nothing could be further from the truth. Actors have passed because the money was not enough or they didn't like the script or for personal reasons. [But] you could turn down my movies a dozen times, and if I have a part that's good for you, I'll always offer it to you and hope for the best.
Would you make another movie with Diane Keaton? Craig Spring, Palm Springs, Calif.
Yes. If there were an idea for Keaton and me or I had an idea that would be great for her, she'd be the first person that I would call.
Which current directors do you admire? Abigail Hoover, St. Paul, Minn.
Usually they are younger directors who are fighting to get good films madenot standard, formulaic Hollywood venal projects. I like [Paul Thomas Anderson] who did There Will Be Blood. I liked him from his earlier movies. I like the films I've seen of Alexander Payne's.
In Match Point, you used a lot of opera. Do you personally enjoy opera? Ian Kachemov, Highland, MD.
I do like opera. I'm going to direct a small opera this year. I used to go a lot, but [operas] go until 11:30 at night. I get up at 5:30 a.m. and get my exercise and ablutions donesometimes my clarinet practice even before I go out to shoot. I just can't keep those late hours.
Will you do any more stand-up comedy albums in the future? Igor Korenfeld, St. Louis, Mo.
I have no intention of doing that at the moment. The work is too hard. It's great to be able to address people directly and tell your jokes. [But it's] not so compelling that a person who's lazyand I'm lazywould go and do it again.
When did you notice that your films had become a pop-culture phenomenonlike "That's such Woody Allen dialogue."? Brian O'Keeffe, Seattle
I've been making films since 1967, and I've never felt I've influenced anybody in any way. People make films like Scorsese makes them, like Spielberg makes them, like Stanley Kubrick made them. I never see young people that I've influenced either as a personality or as a filmmaker.
Has being neurotic in life done more good or more harm? Yanni Kehagiaras, San Francisco
I'm actually very normal. I have a wife now of 10 years. I have two kids who I'm very devoted to. I've portrayed a neurotic personality with such effectiveness that people think that I'm actually neurotic or learned or intellectual. [But] I'm a beer-drinking, television-watching, T-shirt jerk at home. Not someone ensconced in Kierkegaard and Spinoza.
Do you agree with Picasso's quote: "Good artists copy; great artists steal"? Debbie Johnson, Rochester, Mich.
Oh, I've stolen from the best. I've stolen from Bergman. I've stolen from Groucho, from Chaplin, from Keaton, from Martha Graham, from Fellini. I mean I'm a shameless thief.