"I firmly believe -- and I don't say this as a criticism -- that life is meaningless," the Oscar winner declared at a New York press conference to promote his latest big-screen comedy Magic in the Moonlight.
"I'm not alone in thinking this," he continued. "There have been many great minds far, far superior to mine that have come to that conclusion. Both early in life and after years of living and, unless somebody can come up with some proof or some example where it's not [meaningless,] I think it is. I think it is a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. That's just the way I feel about it."
"I'm not saying one should opt to kill oneself, but the truth of the matter is when you think of it, every 100 years... there is a big flush and everybody in the world is gone, then there is a new group of people, then that gets flushed, then there is a new group of people and this goes on interminably for no particular end -- I don't want to upset you -- there's no end and no rhyme or reason.
And the universe -- as you know from the best physicists -- is coming apart and eventually there will be nothing. Absolutely nothing. All the great works of Shakespeare and Beethoven and Da Vinci. All that will be gone. Now, not for a long time, but gone. But much shorter than you think, really, because the sun is going to burn out much earlier than the universe vanishes. So, you won't have to wait for the universe to vanish, it'll happen earlier than that and there will be nothing.
So, all of this achievement -- all of these Shakespearean plays and these symphonies and the height of human achievement -- will be gone completely. There will be nothing. Absolutely nothing. No time. No space. Nothing at all. Just zero. So, what does it really mean?"
The 78-year-old writer-director of Take the Money and Run, Annie Hall, Bullets Over Broadway, Match Point, Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine went on to reveal this mindset is why he never made movies with overtly political themes.
"While [political films] do have current, critical importance, in the large, large scheme of things, only the big questions matter and the answers to those big questions are very, very depressing," he observed.
"What I would recommend is the solution I've come up with -- distraction. That's all you can do. You get up. You can be distracted by your love life, by the baseball game, by the movies, by the nonsense: 'Can I get my kid in this private school?' 'Will this girl go out with me Saturday night?' 'Can I think of an ending for the third act of my play?' 'Am I going to get the promotion in my office?' All of this stuff, but, in the end, the universe burns out. So, I think it is completely meaningless. And, to be honest, my characters portray this feeling."