Golden Globes: Woody Allen's producer sister on 'Midnight in Paris'
If she sounded a little more neurotic and a lot less feminine over the phone, Letty Aronson might be able to pass in a pinch for her more famous sibling, Woody Allen. She's just as sharp, funny and, well, New Yawker-ish as her brother, who picked up two Golden Globe nominations Thursday, for best director and best screenwriter of a motion picture, for his comic drama, "Midnight in Paris." The movie also was nominated in the category of best motion picture comedy or musical, and its star Owen Wilson received a nomination for best actor in a comedy or musical. Here's what Aronson, whom Allen has called "a first-rate producer" of his movies, told 24 Frames' Reed Johnson on Allen's, and her own, behalf.
"Midnight In Paris," in which a writer time-travels to 1930s Paris, has been running since this summer. Why do you think it caught on?
I think people identify with the fantasy of some other time and some other place being so much better than their own lives. And I think it doesn't hurt that it's so beautiful in Paris.
Your brother's career seems to have been re-energized in recent years by getting out of Manhattan now and then and shooting in London, Barcelona, Paris and Rome.
I guess when you're in a foreign place you're forced to look at things a little differently. And he loves all these places.
Which does he generally like more, writing or directing?
I would guess he enjoys the writing more than the directing, but he would never not direct his films. I would guess the writing is more pleasurable so he can stay home and write in his bed.
Seriously, he writes in bed?
Woody has a reputation for not showing up at awards shows, even when he's nominated.
I do think he certainly is pleased that ["Midnight in Paris"] is recognized. I think with awards in general he always feels they're judging apples and oranges. And he's always been truly an independent filmmaker in that he always uses the actors he thinks are right. He likes doing it just the way he does it. I mean, he still uses a manual typewriter. He writes on a legal pad.
Do you think he'd like to have lived in the period depicted in the movie, in that milieu with F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway?
I think there's a lot of appeal in that period for him, but I don't know if in the end he would choose to live in any other time.
How about you?
I wouldn't go back so far, because the conveniences for me are too important. I wouldn't go back to where there were no air conditioners.
-- Reed Johnson
Photo: From left, Marion Cotillard, Alison Pill, Owen Wilson and Woody Allen on the set of "Midnight in Paris." Credit: Roger Arpajou/Sony Pictures Classics