F. Scott Fitzgerald was right when he wrote, “The rich are different from you and me.”
But according to Woody Allen, the rich are not so different. No matter where you go.
Allen’s new film, “Match Point,” which received four Golden Globe nods, (director, dramatic film, supporting actress in a drama, screenplay) tells the story of a conniving young lower-class man’s attempts to climb above his station into the upper echelon of established, old-moneyed British society. And the quintessential New York director says it wasn’t hard to make his “Point” in London because rich Brits are just rich New Yorkers with different accents.
“London and New York are very similar cities,” Allen explained at the recent “Point” premiere after-party at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. “There’s a very strong class structure in New York as well. In fact, I could have made this film in the Hamptons or in Palm Beach.”
But British actress Emily Mortimer, who plays one of the wealthy young women, was impressed with Allen’s ability to see the English class system and display it so adeptly. “I think foreign directors have this genius way of observing English mores and manners that is, in some ways, more astute and perceptive than we are about ourselves.”
“English society is totally obsessed and neurotic about class,” she admitted. “We’ve lived with it for centuries and we can’t really see ourselves really clearly in that arena. Whereas Ang Lee in ‘Sense and Sensibility,’ Robert Altman in ‘Gosford Park,’ Shekhar Kapur with ‘Elizabeth’ and Woody with this film, can look closely and see us much more clearly.”
Allen also remained a very non-judgmental observer of the English upper class. “He sees the class system for what it is,” says Mortimer. “We assume that if you’re a posh person, you’re a snob and a baddie. During filming, told me, ‘These are not bad people, they’re good people, nice people.'”
For that matter, Allen could easily have set the film in L.A. and had some fun with the Hollywood class system. And don’t think that there isn’t one.
Photo Credit: “Match Point” stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Emily Mortimer could be playing tennis in the Hamptons, Palm Beach, New York or London, says director Woody Allen.