Woody Allen Admits Phobias in Venice

08/29/2003 at 01:07 PM EDT

Quirky filmmaker Woody Allen won't use elevators or tunnels and gets apprehensive about certain kinds of shower drains, reports Reuters.

The 67-year-old New Yorker, making his first appearance at the Venice Film Festival to promote his new film "Anything Else," admitted to Reuters television that he really is as neurotic as many of his characters. "I am a neurotic in a more benign way," he said, according to the news agency. "I mean, I have a lot of neurotic habits.

"I don't like to go into elevators. I don't go through tunnels. I like the drain in the shower to be in the corner and not in the middle," he said in the interview, Reuters notes. In fact, the news agency reports that Allen's elevator aversion forced his film's stars Christina Ricci and Jason Biggs to climb three flights of stairs to appear at a news conference prior to the screening.

"I cut my banana into seven slices every morning before I put it in my cereal," he told Reuters. "These things don't hurt anybody else, but they are neurotic."

In his newest romantic comedy, Allen plays an aging schoolteacher who imagines anti-Semitic plots everywhere, leading him to paranoid and ultimately violent behavior. The character also acts as a mentor to Biggs, who plays a young comedy writer with a crush on an unpredictable woman, played by Ricci.

Biggs's role is the character that Allen says he would have played years ago. "I didn't want to give up the girl to somebody else, but I got too old to play that part," Allen told Reuters.

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