Woody Allen Is Retiring

Woody Allen has announced he is done directing films.

By Nathan Kamal | Published

Woody Allen, the controversial and acclaimed filmmaker, comedian, and musician has announced that he will be retiring after the release of his upcoming 50th film, Wasp 22. Per Deadline, the filmmaker is going to be stepping away from filmmaking to focus on other creative endeavors and says that his next project will be a novel. Woody Allen has had a long and hotly debated career in Hollywood, with a body of work that includes collaborations with stars like Timothée Chalamet, Will Ferrell, Kate Winslet, and Scarlett Johansson, genre-defining films like Annie Hall, and some of the most noted scandals in recent cinematic history.

Woody Allen began directing films in 1966, with his debut feature film being What’s Up, Tiger Lily?, which notably took the Japanese film International Secret Police: Key of Keys and overdubbed the James Bond-inspired thriller with new dialogue to create an odd comedic journey to discover the world’s best egg salad recipe. In subsequent years, he would gain acclaim for films in the romantic comedy genre, while venturing into other genres like magic realism in The Purple Rose of Cairo and European art cinema with Shadows and Fog. Over the course of his career, Woody Allen has won four Academy Awards, including for Best Director (for Annie Hall) and three for Best Original Screenplay. 

In recent years, Woody Allen has become known as a pariah in Hollywood, spending much of his working time in France (where Wasp 22 was shot). Most notoriously, his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his then-spouse Mia Farrow, made him a constant topic of tabloid speculation; sexual abuse allegations against Woody Allen became more widespread after investigative journalism by his estranged son Ronan Farrow. While Woody Allen continued to receive awards and widespread acclaim in the 1990s and 2000s, more celebrities began to publicly distance themselves from him in the 2010s.

Woody Allen in Annie Hall

At 86 years old, Woody Allen is one of the most prolific modern filmmakers and yet one of the more controversial. While his films like Manhattan and Hannah and Her Sisters are considered classics of cinema and won him enormous cultural cred, he also has increasingly struggled to find distribution and attention to more recent films like A Rainy Day in New York and Rifkin’s Festival. For all of the length of Woody Allen’s career, it seems increasingly certain that his filmography will continue to be overshadowed by his personal life.

Woody Allen has recently said (in an interview with actor Alec Baldwin) that the “thrill is gone” when it comes to making films, which is hard to argue after literal decades of work. In addition to his career as an actor and director, Woody Allen is known for his activism in film preservation and for his love of jazz music. It seems likely that in addition to writing, he will continue to pursue these activities. 

There are currently no credited actors (according to IMDb) for Wasp 22, which Woody Allen has described as a kind of “venomous” romantic comedy. It also does not currently have a release date.