By Julien Pretot
CANNES, France (Reuters) - With his 49th film about to open the Cannes Film Festival, Woody Allen described himself as a "spry" 80-year-old with no plans to retire.
"I'm 80 and I can't believe it!" Allen told a news conference. "I'm so youthful, agile, nimble, spry, mentally alert that it's astonishing."
"Cafe Society", a romantic tale of 1930s Hollywood, will be screened on Wednesday.
It is the third time a film by Allen, who does not enter them for competition, will have opened the festival, after "Hollywood Ending" in 2002 and "Midnight in Paris" in 2011.
It may not be the last.
"It's great but I don't feel old. Now I'm sure one day I'll wake up in the morning and I'll have a stroke ... and I'll be one of those people you see in a wheelchair and you'll say: 'Remember him? He was Woody Allen.'
"Until it happens I was going to continue to make films as long as people are foolish enough to put up the money to support me."
Asked how he stays fit during long hours on set, he said: "I don't know, I eat well, I exercise. It's luck, my parents were old, my father lived slightly over 100, my mother lived almost 100 so if there's anything in heredity I hit the jackpot."
His new film brings Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg together on screen for the third time, after 2009's "Adventureland" and last year's "American Ultra".
Eisenberg's character leaves New York City for Hollywood, hoping his impresario uncle, Steve Carrell, will give him a break. His eye is taken by Stewart, but he has to settle for friendship until she comes to tell him her lover has left her.
As in many of his films, there is a lot of Allen himself in the protagonist of "Cafe Society".
"If this was years ago, I would have played this part much more narrowly myself because I'm a comedian, not an actor. Jesse gave it much more complexity," Allen said.
Stewart said the film was "immediately recognizable" as a Woody Allen,
"Once we got going, that tonal quality that's so familiar and immediately recognizable, it just happened," she said. "I think we kind of nailed it."
(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)