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OUTTAKES

Up Close, Impersonal--with Woody!

September 28, 1986|John M. Wilson

While Hollywood hacks are grinding out half-baked bios of the stars, Thierry de Navacele has scored a real coup: The French film writer has compiled an hour-by-hour diary of the filming of shy Woody Allen's latest (secret) picture, complete with Woody's cooperation.

The 400-page book is due out from William Morrow roughly when the movie's released, probably early next year, according to Orion Pictures. (Mia Farrow and Dianne Wiest star in what has only been described as a "musical.")

Like the movie itself, the book's so hush-hush that the title is still a secret (it incorporates the movie title). Early review copies are being withheld. And when the book makes its "debut" at the Frankfurt Book Fair Oct. 1, there will be no manuscript--only the cover.

Allen normally spurns interview requests but De Navacele sent him a letter along with three of his film books. ("The fact that I'm French might have helped," the author said. "He's like a God in France.") He met Allen the first day of shooting--last Nov. 5--and was at his elbow four months, on the set, occasionally at dailies, in the private editing room. Although Allen required complete control of the book project--he even had to OK this interview for Outtakes--"he didn't change anything, even the (coverage of) difficult moments," according to De Navacele.

De Navacele, 35, who has a master's in cinema from UCLA and now resides here, said that at Allen's insistence, there were no formal interviews, although he is liberally quoted on the job. "From time to time, he gave a little smile or hello or we might talk about the weather, but it was very superficial. . . .

"He's not paranoid. It's only that he protects his work, the details. He wants people to see it for themselves. And he likes privacy, he doesn't want to be disturbed. You have to realize that his work is 80% of his life."

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