By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com December 22, 2011 at 9:42AM
Despite being, in our eyes at least, not noticeably better in quality than recent fare like "Vicky Christina Barcelona" or "You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger," the amiable "Midnight in Paris" became Woody Allen's most successful film in decades this year -- it's his biggest ever grosser, and was widely hailed as a return to form. Having already picked up nods at the SAGs and Golden Globes, the film is on track to do pretty well at the Oscars too.
Not that Allen's paying much attention; as ever, he's simply plugged on with his annual new film, shooting a Rome-set picture, initially known as "Bop Decameron," over the summer. Now known as "Nero Fiddled," the film has just been picked up by a distributor for the U.S, and to no one's great surprise, it's Sony Pictures Classics, who had their biggest release since "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" with 'Paris.'
This marks their fourth time in a row with the director, following "Whatever Works" 'Tall Dark Stranger' and "Midnight In Paris" (and fifth in total, when you include "Sweet & Lowdown"), and they've clearly got a good relationship going. A statement from the company hints at a summer release saying, "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," while Allen comments in the press release that SPC "seem to be very sensitive to the kind of films I make, and I'm looking forward to working with them now again."
We might have been cooler on MIP than most, but we've got our fingers crossed for this one, partly because it has been hinted that it's more of an out-and-out comedy than we've seen for some time, and partly because the cast features a number of actors who seem particularly suited to Allen's sensibilities. Allen favorite Judy Davis returns, with Penelope Cruz (who picked up an Oscar for her turn in "Vicky Christina Barcelona") back for more, alongside Alison Pill, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig and Ellen Page, the latter two hopefully being given more to do than Rachel McAdams' shrill harpy and Marion Cotillard's 1920s pixie dream girl in 'Paris.' There's no exact word on a release date yet, but we'd be stunned if the distributor didn't follow their 'Paris' gameplan with a splashy Cannes premiere followed shortly after by a platform release.