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As a youngster, Woody Allen wanted to become an FBI agent or a cowboy, but he fell into comedy because writing jokes “required no great effort,” the filmmaker told a packed audience at Princeton’s Richardson Auditorium Oct. 27. “I’m lazy,” he added.

Allen has been giving his papers to Firestone Library since 1980 — the collection now consists of 48 boxes of manuscripts and other materials, including handwritten plot outlines and drafts of his movie scripts on yellow legal pads.

Asked during the question-and-answer session when he decides to cast himself in a film, he said, “I reached a time in my life when I could no longer play the romantic lead ... I want to play the guy that sits opposite Scarlett Johansson.” 

Of the more than 45 films he has made, Allen said he was the happiest with Match Point, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Husbands and Wives, and Midnight in Paris. “I would say I have a couple of A films, no A-plus films, and a lot of B-plus and B films,” he said.