Woody Allen films aren't all about him.

The 'Irrational Man' director - whose latest offering follows a tormented philosophy professor called Abe (Joaquin Phoenix) who considers murdering a corrupt judge to find meaning in his life - says fans have always assumed he puts elements of his life into his characters but that's simply never been true.

He said: ''This is the story of my life. I spend my whole life saying 'This is not me', but audiences don't like to hear it. When I made Annie Hall, people thought it was an autobiographical film. And I'd say, 'Well look it's not. I made it up.' But they don't want to know that. There's something comforting with people - in thinking that the films are giving them the real story.''

Though Woody, 29, battled in court in real life for the custody of his kids, he says he came up with the idea for the film when a friend struggled to sue a dodgy building contractor.

However he admitted it was ''unfair and frustrating, but so feeble compared to losing your children.''

He told The Daily Telegraph: ''If a judge condemns someone to the electric chair, or sends them to jail, there's nothing you can do. But if it's family related and you could help, you know, that seemed to me to be they very best thing.''