Martin Landau on Working with Woody Allen and the Trouble with Writers: “They have all the characters speaking the same way”

Veteran actor Martin Landau, who voices a character in the new Frankenweenie, has some things to say about Woody Allen’s directing.

“Woody doesn’t direct at all,” he told The Orange County Register.  “Seriously, he says that all the time.  He doesn’t know how to direct.  He says he hires you to do your job, and then he fires you if you can’t.  On Purple Roses of Cairo, he started with Michael Keaton, who worked for three weeks, and then he let him go.  He couldn’t use any of it.  Then Eric Roberts came in, and worked for 10 days, and then Woody let him go, too.  A third actor came in, but I can’t remember who that was.  And, finally, he got Jeff Daniels.”

“I had a different brother in Crimes and Misdemeanors for the first three days.  Woody knows what he wants, but he doesn’t direct.  He lets you completely on your own.  He doesn’t want to talk about the movie.  He’ll talk about the Knicks, about hockey, about anything.  If the circus is in town, he’ll tell you how much he hates clowns.  Anything to not talk about directing.”

After decades in the business (and an Oscar for Ed Wood), Landau knows how to approach a new character. “I’ve never met two people who were exactly the same, so I look at the character’s physiology, like where he comes from and what he sounds like,” he said.  “For instance, where I grew up in Brooklyn, all the Irish guys sounded like this [slips into thick Irish accent.]  The Italians were different [with Italian accent.]  The trouble with characters today is the writers.  They have all the characters speaking the same way.  The way a character sounds is so important to how you’re going to play him.”

Frankenweenie is in theaters now.

Leave a Reply
Khary Payton on His ‘Walking Dead’ Audition: “It was one of the more substantial auditions I’ve ever done”
"I always say I’m in the hope business. You’ve got to stay hopeful. You’ve got to get up off your behind and try again..." - Khary Payton
Hayley Atwell’s Best Career Advice: “I’d say the main thing is: show up. Show up and be professional”
Atwell reflects on her career and recounts why she wanted to become an actress since she was a child and what was the best career advice she ever received.
Mike Colter on Playing ‘Luke Cage’: “I was looking at it from the standpoint of an artist”
Colter says that it didn't take long for him to understand the importance of the character in comic book history.
Emily Blunt on ‘The Girl on the Train’: “It is a rarity in Hollywood to have a mainstream film with such a flawed [female] character”
"For me, when you’re doing a high-octane emotional scene, I can’t plan them out, so I don’t rehearse them." - Emily Blunt
Rebecca Hall on ‘Christine’ and Why She Stays Loyal to Theater
"The kind of career that I want is not easy as a lady to manifest, because everyone wants a lady to be likable" - Rebecca Hall