An excerpt from my forthcoming memoir, Life Itself: Woody Allen thought of Bergman as a genius. He told me the American cinema had produced only one genius, Orson Welles. "Godard is supposed to be a genius," he told me dubiously one day. I told him I had witnessed the table napkin at Cannes upon which the producer Menachem Golan wrote out a contract with Godard, misspelling Godard's name while promising him a script by Norman Mailer, and a cast including Orson Welles as Lear and Woody Allen as the Fool.
"Norman Mailer wrote the screenplay?" Allen asked. "Well, there was no screenplay at all the day Godard shot me. I worked for half a day. I completely put myself into his hands. He shot over in the Brill Building, working very sparsely, just Godard and a cameraman, and he asked me to do foolish things, which I did because it was Godard. It was one of the most foolish experiences I've ever had. I'd be amazed if I was anything but consummately insipid.
"He was very elusive about the subject of the film. First he said it was going to be about a Lear jet that crashes on an island. Then he said he wanted to interview everyone who had done King Lear, from Kurosawa to the Royal Shakespeare. Then he said I could say whatever I wanted to say. He plays the French intellectual very well, with the 5 o'clock shadow and a certain vagueness. Meanwhile, when I got there for the shoot, he was wearing pajamas--tops and bottoms--and a bathrobe and slippers, and smoking a big cigar. I had the uncanny feeling that I was being directed by Rufus T. Firefly. Here is the complete film:Watch King Lear (1987, Jean-Luc Godard) in Culture | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com