When you stop and examine the films of Woody Allen, you realize that at least half of Hollywood has worked with this guy. Sometimes it’s a bit part that catches attention years later when the person is more famous, such as Jeff Goldblum in “Annie Hall,” or Zach Braff in “Manhattan Murder Mystery.” Sometimes it’s a bigger role that got lost in the shuffle, like Gene Hackman in “Another Woman.” Either way, in honor of the new Woody Allen documentary on PBS Nov. 20 and 21, here are some Woody Allen actors you might have forgotten.
A very young Seth Green played Woody’s narrator character as a young boy growing up in 1930s Queens in “Radio Days.” Green is very good in the 1987 film; my favorite scene is when he uses his Masked Avenger Secret Decoder Ring.
The always interesting Madonna shows up in Woody’s “Shadows and Fog” in 1991 as a circus artist having an affair with a clown played by John Malkovich. Both her wardrobe and her screen time are scant.
Williams had a small role in 1997′s “Deconstructing Harry.” I liked this movie quite a bit, but there were so many cameos that they got distracting. Even sportscaster Joe Buck found a way into this one.
I love this. In a scene from 1977′s “Annie Hall,” Woody is joking with Diane Keaton about a guy on the street who looks like he won a “Truman Capote look-alike contest.” In fact, it IS Capote. Nice.
What’s weird about Carell’s cameo in 2004′s “Melinda and Melinda” is that it doesn’t tap into either one of Mr. C’s tendencies: his absurd, outlandish comedy characters or his sweet, everyman characters.
Reynolds was intensely understated in “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask)” in 1972. He and Tony Randall were part of the team of people working in Woody’s brain to get him through a dinner date and sex.
How cool is it to watch “Hannah and Her Sisters” from 1986 and suddenly find comedian Lewis Black walking down the hall with Woody? This movie is filled with cameos by famous (or eventually famous) people: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, John Turturro, J.T. Walsh, Richard Jenkins, Benno Schmidt.
Despite the brevity of Falco’s role in “Bullets Over Broadway” from 1994, it proved to be a pivotal break in her acting career. You know who else has a bit part in this film? Tony Sirico, who would achieve fame with Falco in “The Sopranos.”
Literary lion Saul Bellow was a perfect choice to be among the famous commentators in “Zelig,” Woody’s 1983 film about a guy who spent a good deal of the 20th century assimilating too much.
Thank goodness Fallon was already famous before his small part in 2003′s “Anything Else.” Not many people went to see this one, which was something of a return to the relationship territory of “Annie Hall,” for a new generation.
The fantastic Paul Giamatti was in two of Woody’s movies: 1995′s “Mighty Aphrodite,” and 1997′s “Deconstructing Harry.” I preferred “Deconstructing Harry.”
You’ll just have to take my word for this one. At the end of the great “Annie Hall,” Woody meets up with his ex-girlfriend, Diane Keaton, outside a movie theater. Each is with a date – in Woody’s case, a young Sigourney Weaver.
Berle played himself in 1984′s “Broadway Danny Rose,” which is one of my favorite movies. Woody is a low-rent talent agent who handles a club singer with a shot at being in a Berle TV special.
I’ll end with a truly obscure one. Star Trek’s favorite android, Data, showed up as “fan in lobby” in “Stardust Memories” from 1980. Woody’s at a film festival of his character’s “older, funnier” films.
That’s all, folks, although there are many, many more examples: Liam Neeson in “Husbands and Wives,” Dan Aykroyd in “Curse of the Jade Scorpion,” Bella Abzug in “Manhattan” …