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

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/young-viggo-mortensen.jpg
Viggo Mortensen on His First Movie Role and Why It Didn’t Bring Him Instant Success
"I’ve always stuck to a similar approach with each job. Show up on time and prepared, and pay attention." - Viggo Mortensen
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Octavia-Spencer-Hidden-Figures.jpg
Octavia Spencer on Period Pieces: “I don’t come out of the time period; I stay in it”
"I listen to music of the time and I only deal with family and friends that are on the film" - Octavia Spencer
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Tom-Hardy-Taboo.jpg
Tom Hardy on How He Prepared for His Role in ‘Taboo’
"I really think about acting in two different parts. There’s convincing and not convincing acting." - Tom Hardy
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/greta-gerwig.jpg
Greta Gerwig’s Advice to New Actors: “Make your own things”
"When I suddenly feel like I can't find my footing, I listen to a song or look at a photograph or read an essay, and reconnect with what I felt the essence of the character was." - Greta Gerwig
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/viggo-mortensen-captain-fantastic.jpg
Viggo Mortensen on How He Became an Actor
"It didn’t occur to me to try acting it until I was, for an actor, relatively pretty old — 22 or 23." - Viggo Mortensen