The 28-year-old actress stars in the director's latest film, Cafe Society, and joined him at Cannes for the movie's premiere. "It’s really cool to work with a director who’s done so much, because he knows exactly what he wants," Lively tells Hamptons magazine. "He also is really encouraging as to why he cast you, so he’ll say, ‘Say the dialogue that’s written and then you can improvise for a while.’ And his dialogue is so specific, and it’s speaking in a 1930s dialect and [with period] references, so it’s intimidating to think, 'Oh, let me just improvise there and hope that my words blend seamlessly alongside Woody Allen’s' -- which they clearly wouldn’t and don’t."
While at Cannes, master of ceremonies Laurent Lafitte, a French comedian, shocked the audience at the premiere of Allen's film when he made a joke that called out the sexual abuse allegations against the director, which Allen has vehemently denied. "It's very nice that you’ve been shooting so many movies in Europe, even if you are not being convicted for rape in the U.S.," Lafitte said.
While Allen said "it would take a lot to offend" him when asked about the joke, Lively found the comment inappropriate. "I think any jokes about rape, homophobia or Hitler is not a joke," Lively told Variety at the time. "I think that was a hard thing to swallow in 30 seconds. Film festivals are such beautiful, respectful festivals of film and artists and to have that, it felt like it wouldn't have happened if it was in the 1940s. I can't imagine Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby going out and doing that. It was more disappointing for the artists in the room that someone was going up there making jokes about something that wasn’t funny."