Woody Allen says he doesn't hire based on race

Woody Allen. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Woody Allen. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Jordan Zakarin, Reuters

, Last Updated: 6:55 PM ET

NEW YORK - Of the many criticisms that have plagued Woody Allen throughout his illustrious career, one is quantifiable: He has rarely cast actors of color in his films, despite having released a movie every year since 1977.

In April, the New York Daily News fanned the flames of that long-simmering criticism by reporting that the Oscar-winner actively did not want to cast any black actors in the Zach Braff-starring musical adaptation of “Bullets Over Broadway,” despite the fact that it takes place in Harlem’s Cotton Club.

In a new interview in the New York Observer, Allen shot down the accusations of racial bias - but didn’t exactly promise to fill his next films with a diverse group of performers.

“Not unless I write a story that requires it,” said Allen whose new movie, “Magic in the Moonlight,” is out in theaters. “You don’t hire people based on race. You hire people based on who is correct for the part. The implication is that I’m deliberately not hiring black actors, which is stupid. I cast only what’s right for the part. Race, friendship means nothing to me except who is right for the part.”

He is, however, friendly with several black celebrities, including Chris Rock, who bought him a wedding present. He also considers himself a pal of Spike Lee, who has criticized Allen in the past.

“I’m friendly with Spike Lee. We don’t socialize, but I don’t socialize with anyone,” he added. “I don’t have white friends either.”


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