Given that Sony Pictures Classics is gunning hard to mount a Best Picture Oscar campaign for Midnight in Paris, it's no real surprise that the studio wants to stay in the Woody Allen business. So, as you might expect, Classics has gotten on board with Allen's latest project, Nero Fiddled, which shot in Rome over the summer while Midnight in Paris was slowly becoming a monster box office hit. While there's no release date set just yet, the quote from the studio makes it clear they're aiming for a similar warm-weather hit:
More laughs in this one than you can imagine. We know it's a bit premature, but thank you Woody and company, for granting us the perfect summer comedy of 2012. Keep 'em coming."
Classics really does have good reason to be so cocky-- Midnight in Paris is Allen's most financially successful movie of all time, having made $143 million worldwide since opening in late May. Believe it or not, it's still not done-- the movie remains in release in more than 100 theaters nationwide, and may well go even wider in January, when it gets a little more awards season attention and there's nothing else worth seeing in wide release anyway. Allen is nominated for a Best Director Golden Globe for the first time since Match Point, and if a Best Director Oscar nomination follows suit, Midnight in Paris will only stand to become an even bigger hit.
So what do we know about Nero Fiddled? It stars a typically random but intriguing collection of stars, among them Jesse Eisenberg (seemingly tailor-made to play an Allen surrogate in a film), Ellen Page, Alec Baldwin, Greta Gerwig, Penelope Cruz (who won an Oscar for Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona, you might remember), and Roberto Benigni (who won an Oscar for something else entirely). Allen himself will be appearing in the film too, as he revealed earlier this summer, starring opposite Judy Davis as a couple whose daughter is about to marry an Italian. Here's how he described the plot at the time:
It's a broad comedy, not a romantic comedy, of various tales interwoven. I'm one of them, in one of them. All the parts are quite significant, there are no cameos. There just happened to be a part that I could play. I can't play the love interest anymore, which is tremendously frustrating. My wife and myself go to Rome because our daughter is going to marry an Italian boy that she met there, and we go over to meet him and meet his family, and what ensues. The film is very broadly funny.
The plot may have changed by then, and the Classics press release doesn't mention Allen's name, so his role may not be all that big. Either way it's a win-win for everybody, as Sony Pictures Classics gets to ride the Midnight in Paris momentum with another potential Allen hit, and the rest of us get to look forward in hope to yet another late-career Allen movie worth watching.