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Woody Allen Returns to Europe For “Tall Dark Stranger” and Paris Project

Long the king of Manhattan-based comedy movies, Woody Allen returned to his native island for last year’s “Whatever Works” after a five-film, five-year stand shooting films in England and Spain. Alas few of the New Yorkers who usually turn out for the Brooklyn-born director’s real-estate-porn and upper-class-ennui smirkfests bought tickets to the critically panned “Whatever Works”, leaving it with a domestic box-office gross roughly a forth of his previous flick, the much-loved, Spanish-based “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”. Reading between the lines (and, of course, reading the bottom line) Allen is now back in Europe, making two more movies that will, no doubt, delight his always loyal French and English audiences and cost a damn sight less than another Big Apple romp.

First up is the curiously titled romantic comedy, “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger”. Shot predominately in the Notting Hill neighborhood of London, the film will launch in the Oscar sweet spot that is late September. Looking to court both English and American audiences, “Tall Dark Stranger” is packed to the rafters with above-the-title names: Naomi Watts, Anthony Hopkins, Carla Bruni, Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Freida Pinto, and so on. It may be his most star-filled cast since “Everyone Says I Love You”—an underappreciated musical experiment that sank like a stone. After that comes—guess what—another romantic comedy, this time starring Bruni, Owen Wilson, and Oscar winner Marion Cotillard set this time in Paris. This marks only the second time Allen has shot in the City of Light the first being—you’ve got it—”Everyone Says I Love You”. In any case, with the Paris project scheduled for shooting this summer, European audiences still embracing him more than American ones, his slowed down work routine, and the high cost of filming in post-recession New York, we might have to wait till 2013 before we see another hometown flick from New York’s favorite nebbish director.
For a comprehensive list of Woody Allen’s favorite locations in New York and abroad, snap up one of our “Film + Travel” series guidebooks.
Image (clockwise from top left): Larry David in New York in “Whatever Works”, courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics, Rebecca Hall, Patrica Clarkson, and Scarlett Johansson in Barcelona in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”, courtesy of The Weinstein Company, Allen directing Hopkins and Watts in London for “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger”, courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics, Allen standing next to his statue in Oviedo, Spain, courtesy of Associated Press.

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