Video Essay: “All of Woody’s Surrogates”


Woody Allen’s flawed but funny new film To Rome with Love opens this Friday, and while it marks his first acting appearance in one of his movies since 2006’s Scoop, he plays the role of a retired father while continuing his tradition of writing his leading man as a “Woody Allen role” — played, in this film, by Jesse Eisenberg. In his early works, Allen would occasionally engage a young actor to play himself as a child, but as he got too old to play the leading man (okay, let’s face it, after he’d gotten a little too old to play the leading man), he began putting younger actors in roles that were still distinctively Woody-esque, and which said actors played as varying degrees of imitation. We’ve assembled a montage of those actors and some of their most Allen-inspired moments; check out our latest video essay after the jump.

CREDITS edited by JASON BAILEY music by COUNT BASIE & LESTER YOUNG and BENNY GOODMAN & HIS ORCHESTRA featuring (in order of appearance): RICHARD BENJAMIN- Deconstructing Harry LARRY DAVID- Whatever Works JONATHAN MUNK- Annie Hall STANLEY TUCCI- Deconstructing Harry JASON BIGGS- Anything Else SETH GREEN- Radio Days TED BESSELL- Don’t Drink the Water (1969) JOHN CUSACK- Bullets Over Broadway KENNETH BRANAGH- Celebrity WILL FERRELL- Melinda and Melinda MICHAEL J. FOX- Don’t Drink the Water (1994) TOBEY MAGUIRE- Deconstructing Harry OWEN WILSON- Midnight In Paris

Check out our previous video essays: “Wes Anderson’s Favorite New York Movies” “Threequel: Even More Famous Faces in their Film Debuts” “The Semi-Obligatory Lyrical Interlude (A Case Study)” “Encore: More Famous Faces in their Film Debuts” “Watching the Detectives: Our Favorite Movie Private Eyes” “And Introducing…: Famous Faces in their Film Debuts” “The Martin Scoresese Film School” “How to Pull the Perfect Movie Heist” “Being Denzel Washington”