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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 December 2005, 00:42 GMT
Woody makes his point in London film
By Keily Oakes
BBC News website entertainment reporter

Woody Allen made his name making films based in New York but when financing problems hit his latest film he turned his back on his beloved home city and relocated the project to London.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Scarlett Johansson, Woody Allen and Emily Mortimer
Themes of greed and luck pepper the plot of Match Point
Match Point is the first in a possible trilogy of films Allen is filming in London and has already been hailed as a return to form, receiving four Golden Globe nominations.

But Allen said he never pays attention to how his films are received as he refuses to play the showbusiness game.

Allen said: "I'm never aware of how my films are doing financially or how they are reviewed, if people like them or don't like them.

"People always impute me with calculations that 'I made this film because my last film was a comedy so this will be a drama, or I make a film for a reason because it resonates in my private life, but those things are never true.

"I make a film for the fun of making a film and I hope people like it when it's finished, and if they don't there is nothing you can do about it because it's over.

When I was a younger man we idolised the British film industry
Woody Allen

"Then I go on to the next film and what ever idea I get I go with. I never participate in the business in any significant way."

Despite working in a new city, both Allen and lead actress Scarlett Johansson, the only American in the cast, said it was not a culture shock from living and working in New York.

Pleasurable experience

Allen said: "The cities are totally comparable. London is like New York. They are two big metropolitan centres full of culture, museums and theatres and restaurant and traffic and mixed population.

"England has an enormous history of important film-making. When I was a younger man we idolised the British film industry.

"Many of the great films we were seeing in New York were made in England and the British film-makers set the trends so they were more than equipped to do what we wanted."

He added: "I found it very pleasurable, so pleasurable I came back and did another one and I'm thinking of doing another one this summer."

Despite the title, Match Point has very little to do with the tennis circuit, and unlike romantic comedy Wimbledon, there is little to laugh about.

Woody Allen
Woody Allen is planning a third London movie
It is a dark thriller based on the themes of greed, deceit and the role luck can play in life.

Jonathan Rhys-Meyers plays lead character Chris Wilton, an ex-tennis pro who finds himself welcomed into an extremely wealthy family.

When his cosy life is threatened he resorts to drastic measures to cling on to it, with luck playing a part in whether he can keep his place in high society.

I feel very excited and feel deeply proud of it
Emily Mortimer
Rhys-Meyers, who previously starred in Alexander and Bend it Like Beckham, has mixed feelings about the part luck plays in real life.

"I think people who are really lucky are those that can recognise their luck. We all have lucky things happen but what do we do when we get that luck and what choices should we make?" said the Irish actor.

Actress Emily Mortimer believes her luckiest break has come in starring in a Woody Allen film, a dream she never dared would come true.

Head start

Mortimer said: "I don't think I've ever been in a film that's been nominated for Golden Globes before. I feel very excited and feel deeply proud of it.

"I feel it was luck that I, as an English actor got into it. It should have been made in New York and it was just by chance, a financing issue, that it got made in England.

"That gave me a head start because they then had to cast mostly English actors, whereas if it had been in America there would have been much less chance I would have been in a Woody Allen film."

Johansson was also thrilled she was available to step into the cast after Kate Winslet pulled out at the last minute.

"I feel very lucky to have worked with Woody and that I wasn't working that summer after a couple of years of working steadily," she said.

Allen was so impressed with Johansson he cast her in his next London film, Scoop, which he filmed during the summer of 2005.

Allen is now considering returning to the UK to make a third movie in 2006.

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