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Woody Allen Has a Strange New Hobby

69th Cannes Film Festival - Opening Night Gala & 'Cafe Society' Premiere - Arrivals.Featuring: Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively, Woody Allen. Where: Cannes, France. When: 11 May 2016.


Woody Allen revealed something strange about himself in an interview with The Guardian last month. Can you pick out the famous director’s new hobby from this list of otherwise phony items?

  • Woody Allen spends $100 a week on lottery tickets.
  • Woody Allen has become a model train fanatic and recently paid $40,000 for an original 1942 Lionel locomotive.
  • Woody Allen has become a home-brew fanatic and gives friends bottles labeled Allen’s Ale.
  • Woody Allen just learned to play the zither after rewatching the classic film The Third Man.

Time’s up.

If you said “Woody Allen spends $100 a week on lottery tickets,” give yourself a prize.  That is, indeed, what he told The Guardian in an interview promoting his new film, Cafe Society.

Annie Hall (1977) . Directed by Woody Allen. Shown: Woody Allen

Woody Allen in his Oscar-winning 1977 film Annie Hall.

Why would a four-time Academy Award winner and busy director of over 50 films want to spend $5200 a year on lottery tickets? Even Allen doesn’t seem clear:

“I’ve talked this over with my wife. We would still go on living in the same house, I would go on working, I don’t want a boat, I don’t want a plane.”

So why do it? He seems stumped. “The odds are bigger than astronomical. You’d have a better chance of shuffling a deck of cards and naming them all in row. I’ve never got more than two numbers. I’d probably shoot myself if I got five and missed by one.”

Of course, does anyone have a logical reason for playing the lottery? Whatever the impulse, logic has never been part of it for anyone. The heart wants what it wants, as he famously once said. It just doesn’t seem very Woody Allen-ish, that’s all.

Photo of Woody Allen


Clarinet fans will be relieved to know that Woody Allen hasn’t taken up the zither. (Even if he surely does love that amazing final scene of The Third Man.) Allen’s still playing Dixieland clarinet every Monday night — although these days, it’ll cost you $165 a ticket to see him at Cafe Carlyle.

In other words, you’ll need to win the lottery so you can buy tickets to hear Woody Allen play the clarinet to support his $100-a-week lottery habit. And the great circle of life continues.

Perhaps some of his lottery winnings could go to lobster removal.

Now see our full Woody Allen biography »

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