Troubled professor finds purpose in Woody Allen's 'Irrational Man'

Director Woody Allen leaves Hotel de la Reconquista in Oviedo, northern Spain, July 1, 2015. REUTERS/Eloy Alonso (Reuters)

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (Reuters) - Writer-director Woody Allen brings his latest film feature "Irrational Man" to cinemas this month, telling the story of a troubled philosophy professor who finds a sense of purpose after overhearing a stranger's conversation. Joaquin Phoenix plays professor Abe Lucas, who moves to a small town and gets involved with both professor Rita Richards, played by Parker Posey, and student Jill Pollard, portrayed by Emma Stone. His life is turned around when he and Jill eavesdrop on a stranger talking. The film, first shown at the Cannes Film Festival in May, premiered in Beverly Hills on Thursday night but while Phoenix, Stone and Posey walked the red carpet, Allen was absent. The movie is Stone's second film with Allen after "Magic in the Moonlight". "He sent me the script for this. I just thought this is really interesting, the theme is really interesting," she said. "The character felt different and exciting to play. I had worked with him the summer before and it was a good experience." Posey, 46, said she felt close to her character. "I wait to play real women so I was relieved," she said. "It grounds me when I can be in something that I can relate to ... and other people can, especially women at my age." "Irrational Man" opens in the United States on July 17. (Reporting by Reuters Television in Beverly Hills; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian in London)