After much anticipation, gossip and hearsay, Woody Allen is poised to launch production on his new Rome feature, receiving an official send-off from the mayor of Rome who gave the filmmaker the city's token of appreciation yesterday.
To the delight of onlookers, Mayor Gianni Alemanno presented Allen with a statuette of the Eternal City's Capitoline Wolf, wishing him well in the upcoming production of The Bop Decameron, scheduled to begin shooting July 11.
The star-studded cast features Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz, Judy Davis, Roberto Benigni and Woody Allen himself, appearing on screen for the first time since his 2006 film Scoop.
“There just happened to be a part that I could play,” said Allen, 75. “I can't play the love interest anymore, which is tremendously frustrating”.
Such roles might be slated for starlets Ellen Page, famous for her starring spot in the offbeat comedy Juno, and indie darling Greta Gerwig, also signed to the film. Jesse Eisenberg, known for his 2010 performance as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, is also in the cast.
Allen's film is alleged to be a 21st-century take on Giovanni Boccaccio's medieval collection of erotic love tales called The Decameron, scandalous in their time for placing revered public figures and clergy in compromising situations. Allen's version will consist of “various tales interwoven”, he said, one of which involves his own character who travels to Rome with his wife “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”.
Italian cast members include Antonio Albanese, Fabio Armiliato, Alessandra Mastronardi, Ornella Muti, Flavio Parenti, Riccardo Scamarcio and Alessandro Tiberi. “All the parts are quite significant,” said Allen. “There are no cameos”.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.