Woody Allen says Jean-Paul Sartre wanted money in order to meet him

The director tried to arrange a meeting with the philosopher

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The Independent Culture

In a new interview Woody Allen gave to The Hollywood Reporter, the director revealed a bizarre anecdote about an attempted meet with French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.

It came off the back of another about a brief rendezvous with playwright Samuel Beckett.

“I chatted with him for five minutes at I think it was Les Deux Magots [a cafe in Paris],” Allen recalled. “I was there having coffee, and someone said: "Samuel Beckett is over there. Would you like to meet him?" And I said, "Sure," and I went over and we chatted for a little while. He was very nice.

“I was never a great Beckett fan,” he added. “But I wanted to meet Jean-Paul Sartre. I wanted to do that, and someone connected with him said, "It can be arranged for a price."

Clearly stunned that the Marxist philosopher and activist would charge for his social time, THR replied: “You’re joking!”

“No, no,” Allen replied. “I didn't follow up on that because the whole thing was too sinister for my psyche.”

Allen's passion for literature, art and criticism of the past was clear in his 2011 film Midnight in Paris, which saw the protagonist accidentally go back in time and meet Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Stein, Dalí, Toulouse-Lautrec and more.

Elsewhere in the interview, Allen discussed his Luddite tendencies, confirming that he still doesn’t have a computer.

“No. I have none of that stuff,” he said. “And I'm not good at that. I'm not good technically. I have a cellphone, but it's very limited. 

“I know this: I can make calls, and my assistant put all my jazz records on it. It used to be when I would go out of town and I'd practice the clarinet, I was always schlepping a lot of vinyl recordings from city to city…[I’ve] never emailed anybody.”