"You know, it just evolves naturally," he adds. "You sit around the house, and you start to work on something after a few days or a few weeks, because otherwise it's boring."

For Allen, work is a given; it's just a question of finding the mechanism to keep doing it his way. "I'd certainly be interested in anyone that came to me with money to make a film, because that's always a scramble. But they would have to tolerate my idiosyncrasies, and that's where I always strike out. I don't let anybody read the script. So the film company would have to put the money in blindly; they couldn't say anything about casting; they couldn't see dailies; they'd have to put the money in a brown paper bag and then see the film when it's ready. And very, very few people are willing to do that."

His next film, set to star Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins and Louis C.K., will shoot mostly in San Francisco. "There are very few places in America that have charm," Allen explains. "San Francisco, it's pretty. It's got a European charm to it."

Maybe, but it doesn't have European money. Allen says he's financing this next film privately, through "people that got into a conversation with me and never got out without donating some money." In a word, as Allen says, breaking into an unforced grin for the first and last time in my presence, "Suckers."

Also read: Woody Allen presents a magical world in To Rome With Love

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