The last time we checked up on Woody Allen, Charlie Rose’s most famous loyal viewer, he was busy casting his latest theatrical film, which has since wrapped production. Going back further, there was the news that Allen’s series for Amazon (which he has repeatedly said he is completely flustered by and regrets signing onto) would premiere in the second half of 2016. And now, finally, we get any kind of news about the show’s content, in this case its stars and its setting (it will be a period piece set in the 60s). If case you clicked on this without looking at the headline, well, you’re in for a bumpy ride.
Three actors are thus far a part of the show. The first is Allen himself. He will be appearing in one of his films for the first time since To Rome With Love, and I personally welcome this development, as I’ve always enjoyed his screen presence, even in some of his bumpier films (looking at you, Jade Scorpion). The second is Elaine May, and that’s great news for any comedy fan, whether they know her from Nichols and May or her directorial efforts or her performances and scripts for other directors (like her hilarious perf in Allen’s Small Time Crooks). The third is Miley Cyrus. I know, I was just shocked as you are. For the record, I don’t hate Cyrus like some on the internet do, but still, Miley Cyrus, sharing the screen with Woody Allen and Elaine May, in a 60s period piece. Even for someone who cast Madonna to appear in three minutes of Shadows and Fog, this is way out-of-left-field. And this only raises questions about how exactly Allen decided to cast Cyrus (not since Allen cast Jason Biggs on the basis of seeing him in “the pie movie” and thinking he was Jewish has an Allen casting decision been this bizarrely funny). I’m sure many will say it’s for name value, but this is a man whose involvement with his TV begins and ends with Knicks games and Charlie Rose, I don’t think he’s been tuning into the Disney Channel too often. Did she audition for him and he honestly thought she was the best candidate for the job? Is his casting director pulling a mean-spirited prank on him? Was he inspired by her performance in The Last Song? I dunno, guys. I think I’ll continue to not know.
Of course, yet again, I’m left wondering the biggest question of all; who’s shooting this (six-part half-hour) series. Allen’s upcoming film will be shot by none other than the maestro himself, Vittorio Storaro, so he’s in consideration, as is the motherfuckin’ man Darius Khondji, who’s finished with Lost City of Z and would be free to make this his sixth collaboration with Allen. I’m sure the media will be dead-set on finding out the DoP, at the expense of all other elements of this series.