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Back home from a trip to Cannes to open his new film Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen held court with a roomful of New York press at a hotel on the Upper East Side today. A press conference with Allen is like none other, especially when he's there on his own-- he's as comfortable in front of a microphone as any other 75-year-old on earth, and willing to tell stories about everything from the use of time travel in Midnight in Paris to his dream of adapting The Great Gatsby for the screen (more on both of those later).
He also answered a question about his next movie, which shoots in Rome this summer and already had a reported cast including Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Penelope Cruz, Roberto Benigni and Allen himself, who will be acting again after a few years on hiatus. Today he not only revealed the untitled film's plot for the first time, but confirmed that his Husbands and Wives co-star Judy Davis would also be in the film-- and I think she'll be playing his wife. Here's what he told us about the plot, and we'll speculate after.
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.Given that he described a series of interconnected stories and not one central narrative, all the film's stars might not all be part of this central story-- and indeed, it's hard to see Baldwin and Eisenberg fitting into the meeting of an Italian and American family. But if Allen is playing the father it makes sense for Davis, though 20 years his junior, to play the mother, and for the same reason wouldn't Ellen Page make the most sense as the daughter? Roberto Benigni could easily be playing the patriarch of the other family, and presumably one of the other Italian actors currently being cast would play the husband-to-be-- does anyone know of any up-and-coming male Italian actors who could fit the bill?
All the casting business is pure speculation, though it all seems to fit together pretty well for me, and the plot details are straight from the horse's mouth. The film shoots this summer in Rome and, given Allen's usual work schedule, should be in theaters next summer. Check back later this week for more from Allen on, well, lots of stuff, and see Midnight in Paris in limited release this weekend.