After opening the Cannes Film Festival this spring, Woody Allen’s latest Café Society finally made its debut in the legendary director’s hometown Thursday night at The Paris Theatre off Central Park. The film, a familiar tale of entangled love stories set in 1930s Hollywood, stars Jesse Eisenberg as the Allen stand-in, Steve Carell, Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively, and Parker Posey. “That was the flowering of the Café Society era,” said Allen of the film’s setting, expertly recreated by set designer Santo Loquasto and Blue Jasmine costume designer Suzy Benzinger (who worked with Chanel on custom dresses for Stewart’s character). “You would go out at night and pop champagne and there were socialites and actresses and producers and they would all be at these supper clubs and speakeasies.”
The 80-year-old director, who waved yet another spate of bad press during Cannes because of renewed allegations by his adopted son Ronan Farrow, was admittedly happy to be back in his hometown and answered friendlier questions, like if he'd seen any of the Twilight movies that brought Stewart to stardom. He hadn't; he saw her in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of Sils Maria and wanted to work with her.
“The interesting ones on film are the ones that are neurotic, the ones that are fragile and the ones that are screwed up, they are the ones that give you the stories. To write about confident men and confident women is boring,” said Allen, as he made his way down the red carpet at the premiere (hosted by Amazon Studios and Lionsgate, along with The Cinema Society) with his wife, Soon-Yi Previn, by his side. “When I see A Streetcar Name Desire, I identify with Blanche because I am also a fragile flower.”
Stewart said of her first time working with Allen, “It was surprising how little he directs, considering how particular his films are. It’s almost all in the writing.” (For the record, her favorite Allen movie is Vicky Cristina Barcelona.) The actress, whose red carpet style has been particularly on-point ever since Cannes, rocked a black-and-white Chanel gown and an edgy braided hairdo for last night’s premiere (along with a rare smile), and later changed into a T-shirt, an orange beanie, and ripped jeans for the after-party. When asked what she thought of her style as of late, she enthusiastically replied, “Fucking dope!”
After the screening, Stewart, along with the likes of Patti Smith, Dakota Fanning, and Heidi Klum, decamped to The Carlyle, where Allens holds a residency with his jazz band, for the after-party. Swanky as it was, it didn’t quite compare to the champagne-filled, megawatt parties in Café Society.
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