Woody Allen explains why he doesn't cast black actors in his films

By Daniel S Levine,

Woody Allen rarely opens up, but when he does, people listen, even those who don’t like his films or his life outside of movie sets. Surprisingly, Allen has done a couple of interviews timed with the release of his 44th movie, Magic in the Moonlight. In an interview this week, Allen responded to charges that he will not cast black actors in his films.

Allen spoke with the New York Observer on a wide range of topics and responded to the claims that he has not used black actors in his movies. The director spoke with the interviewer about Viola Davis, but still noted that he casts based on story, not race.

“Not unless I write a story that requires it,” Allen explained. “You don’t hire people based on race. You hire people based on who is correct for the part.”

He sounded particularly annoyed that tabloids suggest that he goes out of his way not to hire black stars.

“The implication is that I’m deliberately not hiring black actors, which is stupid. I cast only what’s right for the part,” he said. “Race, friendship means nothing to me except who is right for the part.”

Allen also noted that he is friends with Chris Rock, who bought him a wedding present and had dinner with him in Rome. He is even friends with Spike Lee.

“I’m friendly with Spike Lee. We don’t socialize, but I don’t socialize with anyone,” Allen said. “I don’t have white friends either.”

Allen also openly discussed his favorite films. While he told the HappySadConfused podcast last week that he is often disappointed by the final product, he told the Observer that he does have a few favorites in his legendary canon.

He called The Purple Rose of Cairo one of his favorites, along with Husbands and Wives, Midnight in Paris, Match Point, Zelig, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Broadway Danny Rose. He avoided calling Annie Hall, Hannah And Her Sisters, and his other very popular movies his best.

Magic in the Moonlight opened in limited theaters last weekend.

Image courtesy of Nancy Rivera/ACE/INFphoto.com

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