Woody Allen has revealed that Blue Jasmine was sparked by an anecdote his wife told him.
The four-time Oscar-winning filmmaker's latest drama stars Cate Blanchett as an ultra-wealthy New York socialite, who suffers a tragic decline in fortune when her husband (played by Alec Baldwin) is sent to prison.
The 77-year-old admitted the movie has its basis in a story his wife Soon-Yi recounted.
"The fundamental story was an anecdote my wife told me. I was having lunch with my wife at home and she happened to tell me the story that some woman told her about another woman who had undergone the same trauma," he said.
"She had been rich, wealthy, luxuriously living for many years and suddenly the roof came in. The government came in, they took her jewellery, they took her home, they took her airplane, they took everything.
"She had to go to work in a store and the whole trauma was so difficult for her, that she had a very hard, emotional time adjusting. I thought this was the makings of a tragic story and then I embellished it with details I made up," he added.
Woody knew when he was writing it that Cate would be his perfect Jasmine.
"I thought Cate Blanchett is one of the few in the world, or maybe the only one who could make this come alive. So I started writing with Cate in mind," he explained.
As for Sally Hawkins, who plays her sister Ginger, the director-writer said: "Sally was a late choice. I wanted an American... but I read a few actresses, and they were not right. Sally is one of my favourite actresses, and I thought if she could do the accent, she's got the depth and brilliance to do the part."
:: Blue Jasmine is in cinemas now.