To Rome With Love, behind the scenes, Allison Pill

“With Woody Allen, you have someone who is responsible for more memorable moments than anyone who’s ever been involved in films,” says Alec Baldwin, one of the stars of “To Rome With Love,” who joined various cast members and the director in New York City to talk with press about the film. The 42nd film of the career of the writer, director and legend, Allen doesn’t have to go far to find an exciting collaborator like Baldwin, who bluntly says, “When he calls you and asks you to come and do this, if you’re available, you go.”

“To Rome With Love” is an anthology, centered around multiple love stories set in the beautiful city of Rome. It’s a first for Allen, who has found a second home overseas since 2005’s “Match Point.” “Rome is a provocative city to shoot in,” Allen says. “It’s visually arresting, and there’s a great Italian film tradition.” Adds Baldwin, “I think Italy and Rome have more of a sense of humor than a lot of other places I’ve been. It’s a very loose, very relaxing place, not very self-conscious. Every cliché I’ve heard about spending a lot of time in Rome is true.”

Like the rest of the cast, Baldwin found inspiration not only on the page, but in the heritage of their surroundings. “When you look at Italian films, there’s kind of an openness to Italian acting and Italian film,” Baldwin says. “The people who became stars, from Pasolini’s time to New Wave filmmaking, even [co-star Roberto] Benigni, there are people you can see right into them, there’s not a lot of pretense to them, they’re very available. I tried to keep that in mind.”

Co-star Greta Gerwig, who plays a vacationing student unknowingly involved in a love triangle, used an academic approach to expressing the comedic nature of her work. “I was thinking the commedia dell'arte style of acting,” says Gerwig. “The way actors would play out these ‘types,’ I thought there was some reflection of that in this film.” Though she didn’t have to look far for additional motivation, given her relationship with Allen’s films. “I grew up watching his movies over and over again, I’ve learned what books to read based on references in his films. I read ‘Death In Venice’ because he mentioned it. I wouldn’t live in New York, and I wouldn’t want to be an actor, if it weren’t for his movies.”