Allen talks of Spain and threesomes at Cannes

May 17, 2008 7:21:56 PM PDT
Woody Allen's latest film touches on that classic male fantasy, a romantic threesome with two women. Has Allen ever entertained the notion himself?

"You know, it's hard enough to get one person," Allen told reporters Saturday at the Cannes Film Festival, hours before the premier of his romantic comedy "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," starring Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem.

"In trying to figure out solutions in life, two actually tends to make it more complicated than one. The characters in this movie are able, the chemistry was right, and they're able to handle the situation," Allen said. "But in real life, most of us petty people could never handle anything like that. It's hard enough to get a relationship that can work out with one person, but with two, it becomes geometrically more fatal."

Due in U.S. theaters Aug. 29, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" stars Johansson, who has appeared in three of Allen's last four films, and Rebecca Hall as American friends spending a summer in Spain.

Both women have separate relationships with a passionate painter (Bardem), whose volatile ex-wife (Cruz) later forges a three-way romance with him and Johansson's character.

It was the fourth film in a row shot in Europe by Allen, whose beloved Manhattan has been the backdrop for most of his movies. Allen is nearly finished shooting his next film, which has him back in New York for a comedy starring Larry David, Evan Rachel Wood and Patricia Clarkson, who also appears in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."

"It's about a group of also highly neurotic characters that interact in ways that I'm hoping you'll think is funny," Allen said. "When it's over you may or may not. If you don't then I will have failed, but I'm giving it my best shot."

Allen, 72, did three movies in London, "Match Point," "Scoop" and "Cassandra's Dream," then was approached about shooting in Spain.

"People from Barcelona called and said if I was interested in making a film there, they would finance it, so I said, 'Sure,'" Allen said. "If someone had called me from Rome or Venice or Stockholm or God knows where, I probably would have agreed to it just as readily.

"But this was a golden opportunity for me, because I happen to have a particular fondness for a number of cities in Spain, and Barcelona certainly is one of my favorites."

One place Allen is not likely to shoot is Russia or its environs. When an Uzbek reporter asked if he had any such plans, Allen said no, recollecting a family trip to Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, years ago.

"I was planning on being there for five days, and I was there for about two hours, and I went to the travel agent in town and I said, 'Get me the first reservation out of here. I don't care where it goes,'" Allen said.

"I had a terrible, terrible time there, and I haven't been back since then. And I'm told that it's greatly changed since then, but it would take a lot, because I'm a fearful traveler, and it would take a lot to get me back to Russia."