He produces a film a year without breaking a sweat, so it was reasonable for Woody Allen to assume that a foray into the world of television would be “a cinch”.
But the veteran director has described his attempts to make a six-part series for Amazon as a “catastrophic mistake” with which he should never have become involved.
Allen, who turns 80 this year, said he did not even watch television and that he merely hoped his untitled venture did not disappoint Amazon.
“I never should have gotten into it,” he admitted at the Cannes Film Festival. “It’s very hard for me. I thought it was going to be easy. You do a movie, it’s a big, long thing. To do six half-hours, I thought it was going to be a cinch.
“I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m floundering. I expect this to be a cosmic embarrassment when it comes out.”
Although it is never easy to tell whether he is being entirely serious, Allen has previously expressed scepticism about his ability to translate his vast film experience to the small screen.
“I don’t know how I got into this,” he commented when Amazon’s “Untitled Woody Allen Project” was announced earlier this year. “I have no ideas and I’m not sure where to begin.”
In contrast Allen compared making full-length movies to basket weaving, describing the process as “a nice thing to keep you busy”, during a press conference ahead of the premiere of his new film, Irrational Man.
The director produced an extended riff on the pointlessness of life, even as an unusual philosophical discussion on the importance of Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative – Kant’s central philosophical concept – suggested he was in fact entirely serious about his work.
“Making movies is a nice thing to keep you busy like giving inmates of an institution basket weaving,” he said before walking the red carpet with his female stars, Emma Stone and Parker Posey.
Oscars 2014: Best Actor and Actress nominees
Oscars 2014: Best Actor and Actress nominees
1/20 Cate Blanchett (Best Actress)
Blanchett has been nominated for Best Actress for her role as a deeply troubled New York socialite in Blue Jasmine.
2/20 Sandra Bullock (Best Actress)
Bullock is nominated for her performance as a medical engineer in Alfonso Cuaron's space adventure Gravity.
3/20 Meryl Streep (Best Actress)
Here pictured left with Julianne Nicholson and Juliette Lewis, Streep has earned a nod for her performance as Violet Weston in August: Osage County.
4/20 Judi Dench (Best Actress)
British actress Dench is up for Best Actress for her role as Philomena Lee in Stephen Frears' Philomena.
5/20 Amy Adams (Best Actress)
Adams is nominated for Best Actress for her role as Sydney Prosser in American Hustle - here pictured left with Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence.
Francois Duhamel/ Annapurna Productions
6/20 Leonardo DiCaprio (Best Actor)
DiCaprio has picked up his fourth Oscar nomination - but will he finally win? - for his performance as debauched stockbroker Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street.
7/20 Chiwetel Ejiofor (Best Actor)
British actor Ejiofor has been nominated for an Oscar for his role as Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave.
8/20 Matthew McConaughey (Best Actor)
McConaughey is up for Best Actor Oscar for his role as an emaciated AIDS patient who smuggles anti-viral drugs into the US in Dallas Buyers Club.
9/20 Christian Bale (Best Actor)
British actor Bale has earned a nod for his performance as con artist Irving Rosenfeld in American Hustle.
10/20 Bruce Dern (Best Actor)
Dern, left, is nominated for his role in Nebraska as elderly father Woody Grant who embarks on a trip with his estranged son.
11/20 Bradley Cooper (Best Supporting Actor)
Cooper, left, has earned an Oscar nod for his supporting role as a wild FBI agent in David O Russell's American Hustle.
12/20 Barkhad Abdi (Best Supporting Actor)
Abdi is up for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as a Somali pirate who hijacks Tom Hanks' ship in Captain Phillips.
13/20 Michael Fassbender (Best Supporting Actor)
Michael Fassbender, left, is nominated for his role as plantation owner Edwin Epps in Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave.
14/20 Jared Leto (Best Supporting Actor)
Leto has picked up a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role as a transgender AIDS patient in Dallas Buyers Club.
15/20 Jonah Hill (Best Supporting Actor)
Hill has earned a nod for his supporting role as a charismatic salesman in The Wolf of Wall Street - pictured here, left, in a scene with Best Actor nominee DiCaprio.
16/20 Julia Roberts (Best Supporting Actress)
Julia Roberts, here seen embracing Best Actress nominee Meryl Streep, is nominated for her role in August: Osage County.
17/20 Jennifer Lawrence (Best Supporting Actress)
Lawrence has been nominated for her role as Rosalyn Rosenfeld in American Hustle - she won Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook last year.
18/20 Lupita Nyong'o (Best Supporting Actress)
Kenyan actress Nyong'o has earned a nod for her role as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave, here pictured with Best Supporting Actor nominee Michael Fassbender.
19/20 Sally Hawkins (Best Supporting Actress)
Sally Hawkins, left, and Andrew Dice Clay in a scene from the Woody Allen film, Blue Jasmine. British actor Hawkins is nominated for her role as Jasmine's sister Ginger.
20/20 June Squibb (Best Supporting Actress)
Squibb is nominated for her role as Kate Grant, wife of Best Actor nominee Bruce Dern's character in Alexander Payne's Nebraska.
“The grim reality of life is no matter how much the philosophers talk to you or the priests or the psychiatrists, the bottom line is it runs right over you while you’re prattling. The only think you can think of as an artist is to try to come up with something where you can explain to people why life is worth living,” he said.
“You can’t really do that without conning them. In the end, it has no meaning. You’re living in a random universe and living a meaningless life. The only possible way you can beat it a little bit is by distraction.”
His new film tells the story of a philosophy professor, played by Joaquin Phoenix, whose study of the great minds has not made him happy. He finds new meaning in his life through a brilliant young student (Emma Stone) and a curious plot to commit a murder.
Despite the lengthy self-analysis under questioning, Emma Stone claimed Allen’s working methods were straightforward and quick. “There’s no over-thinking,” she said.
The actress, who previously collaborated with him on Magic in the Moonlight, said she did not know whether they would work together again but said: “Wouldn’t that be nice?”