Nominated in four categories at tonight’s Academy Award ceremony, including Best Picture, Director, and Best Original Screenplay, now is a great time to be a Woody Allen fan. The legendary director has been keeping himself incredibly busy these past few weeks and is hard at work with projects for both stage and screen.
First up, Sony Pictures Classics has set a US release date of June 22nd for Allen’s upcoming movie ‘Nero Fiddled’. Set in Italy ’Nero’ comprises of four separate vignettes and features Allen in his first starring role since ‘Scoop’ in 2006.
The movie also stars Penelope Cruz, Ellen Page, Roberto Benigni, Alec Baldwin and Jesse Eisenberg, a typically electric mix of thesps who Allen has put together in this boiling pot that he himself has described as a broad comedy. I’m really looking forward to this movie and given the success of ‘Midnight in Paris‘ I’m sure all eyes will be on this film come its summer release in the States. Hopefully a European release date won’t be too far behind, possibly a premiere at Cannes in May? Several of his last movies have opened there.
It has also been announced that Allen’s classic 1994 movie ‘Bullets Over Broadway’ is set to be adapted into a Broadway musical. Allen is said to be writing the book for the show which will feature musical numbers using songs from the 1920’s period in which the story is set so expect plenty of Cole Porter tunes. The original movie starred John Cusack as a struggling up and coming playwright who is forced to cast the talentless bimbo girlfriend of a seedy gangster in his play in order to attain funding. It also won Dianne West an Oscar for Best Female Performance with her portrayal of diva actress Helen Sinclair. The musical is said to debut sometime in 2013 and if it has half the wit and charm of the original movie it is sure to be a blast!
The prolific writer/director also made a rare public appearance at the Jewish Cultural Centre in Manhattan last week during a screening of his underrated 1987 movie ‘Radio Days’. The event which honoured early radio pioneer Himan Brown was hosted by Allen’s long-time friend and legendary US talk show host Dick Cavett. The movie is loosely based around Allen’s childhood memories is a love letter to the importance of the radio in American homes before the introduction of television.
“There was nothing more blissful than pretending that you were sick and to remain in bed, listening to the radio for 12 hours. It was just blissful” Allen recounted. “When I hear all these old shows now, some of them are garbage. My God, how I could I have been enchanted by that?” he joked.
He also mentioned that Diane Keaton is to thank for his ability to write women so well. “I started the relationship with Diane Keaton and I was very impressed with her. I said I can write for her, I can write for women. Now I’m a better woman than man!”.
Speaking of his onscreen relationship with Keaton, ‘Annie Hall’ and ‘Manhattan’ two of their best movies together are now available to buy on Blu Ray as a US import. Hopefully this will prompt the studios to release more of Allen’s back catalogue on the format in the near future.
At 76 years of age Allen thankfully shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. We wish him luck with the upcoming Academy Awards ceremony and wait with baited breath for the release of ’Nero Fiddled’.