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Arts and Entertainment

Woody Allen Swears He Doesn't Hate Los Angeles

Helga Esteb /
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Last week we couldn't help but rib Woody Allen for deigning to spend a few days in the land of "wheat germ killers," since his latest film "To Rome With Love" launched the LA Film Fest.But when Allen sat down with the LA Weekly he wanted to set the record straight about his geographic allegiances: "I'm not anti-Los Angeles."

He then proceeded to give the city a few backhanded compliments about how it used to be such a cultural backwater:

"I couldn't live here because I don't like a place where I have to drive everyplace, and I don't like sunshine. But I love coming out here for a couple of days. I have a lot of friends here, and the town has, over the years, really come on very strong. When I first came out here years ago, you couldn't get a decent meal in Los Angeles. Now it's full of great restaurants, great museums; the opera's wonderful."

Okay, so he's not going to write us a love letter anytime soon, like he has for Paris, Rome and (duh) Manhattan. (Sidenote: of course, he loves the opera here: Allen was invited to make his opera directing debut at Dorothy Chandler a few years back.)But the thing that really bothers him about Los Angeles seems to be the industry itself. Lately, Europeans have been bankrolling his movies (which seems appropriate given how much they originally inspired his own work). He told the Weekly how the American film industry compares to Europe's: "In America, these guys who are only fit to be bankers — and barely that, but they are fit to be bankers — say, 'Well, we're not just bankers. We want to talk to you about the casting and talk to you about the script.' Whereas in Europe they're happy to say, 'We're bankers, and you're a product. We know what you do, and we'll give you the money to make the film.' "

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And when it comes to choosing sides in the epic NorCal vs. SoCal battle, it seems like we're on the losing end of that contest, too. He's shooting his next film mostly in the Bay Area. He told the Weekly, "There are very few places in America that have charm. San Francisco, it's pretty. It's got a European charm to it."