Woody Allen Resurrecting Comedy Legend Elaine May and Miley Cyrus For New Amazon Series

Elaine May & Mike Nichols, AN EVENING WITH NICHOLS & MAY, Golden Theater, 10/8/60


by: Jay Carlson – Editor-in-chief

They say idle hands are the devils plaything. I guess Woody Allen doesn’t have anything to worry about. The prolific filmmaker has directed almost a film a year since he started in the early 1970’s (The last year that didn’t see a new Woody Allen film was 1981). Now it looks like we’ll see even more of Woody thanks to his deal with Amazon to produce six half hour episodes for the streaming service.

Allen opened up to Deadline at last year’s Cannes Film Festival about the deal with the streaming service:

I never knew what Amazon was. I’ve never seen any of those series, even on cable. I’ve never seen The Sopranos, or Mad Men. I’m out every night and when I come home, I watch the end of the baseball or basketball game, and there’s Charlie Rose and I go to sleep. Amazon kept coming to me and saying, please do this, whatever you want. I kept saying I have no ideas for it, that I never watch television. I don’t know the first thing about it. Well, this went on for a year and a half, and they kept making a better deal and a better deal. Finally they said look, we’ll do anything that you want, just give us six half hours. They can be black and white, they can take place in Paris, in New York and California, they can be about a family, they can be comedy, you can be in them, they can be tragic. We don’t have to know anything, just come in with six half hours. And they offered a lot of money and everybody around me was pressuring me, go ahead and do it, what do you have to lose?

I have regretted every second since I said OK. It’s been so hard for me. I had the cocky confidence, well, I’ll do it like I do a movie…it’ll be a movie in six parts. Turns out, it’s not. For me, it has been very, very difficult. I’ve been struggling and struggling and struggling. I only hope that when I finally do it — I have until the end of 2016 — they’re not crushed with disappointment because they’re nice people and I don’t want to disappoint them. I am doing my best. I fit it in between films, so it’s not like, no film this year, I’m doing Amazon. It’s a job within my usual schedule. But I am not as good at it as I fantasized I might be. It’s not a piece of cake; it’s a tough thing and I’m earning every penny that they’re giving me and I just hope that they don’t feel, ‘My God, we gave him a very substantial amount of money and freedom and this is what he gives us?’

It looks like things have changed since this interview as we now know not only when the series will take place, but who will be starring in it.

Allen’s currently untitled Amazon series will take place in the 1960’s and will star Allen himself, as well as Elaine May and Miley Cyrus. While most are focusing on how strange it is that Allen has cast Miley Cyrus, (and it IS weird) I find it far more intriguing that Allen has also recruited comedy legend, Elaine May.

To the unfamiliar, Elaine May began her career with Mike Nichols (Yes, THAT Mike Nichols, director of The Graduate and many other great films) as the improvisational comedy duo Nichols and May in the mid to late 1950’s. The duo released three comedy albums between 1959 and 1962 that entered the Billboard Top 40. By the early sixties they parted ways as a comedy team, though May would later write the screenplay for two of Nichols films, The Birdcage and Primary Colors. Around 2000, May seemed to withdraw from Hollywood,(Allen’s Small Time Crooks is her last acting credit in 2000) becoming somewhat of a recluse, though there have been whispers of some uncredited writing work over the years, but nothing official.

Based off the interesting and amazing casting choices, Allen’s project now has my full attention. I’m extremely curious to see what he plans to bring us on the streaming service.  Even though the project does not currently  have a release date we shouldn’t be waiting long, as the project is set to begin filming in March.



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