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IN THE WORKS: John Turturro Casts Woody Allen in His Bid for Commercial Success, 'Fading Gigolo' UPDATED

Photo of Anne Thompson and Maggie Lange By Anne Thompson and Maggie Lange | Thompson on Hollywood March 7, 2012 at 12:10PM

For the first time in over a decade, Woody Allen will play to another director. Fellow triple threat actor-writer-director John Turturro cast Allen in his upcoming "Fading Gigolo."
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Allen and Turturro

For the first time in over a decade, Woody Allen will play to another director. Fellow triple threat actor-writer-director John Turturro ("Romance and Cigarettes") has cast Allen in his upcoming "Fading Gigolo." Allen, who just won his fourth Oscar (for original screenplay) for his biggest hit ever, "Midnight in Paris," returns to the screen after six years this June in his own Rome-set romantic roundelay, "Nero Fiddled."

Turturro wrote the film about two down-and-out pals (Turturro and Allen) who decide to make some cash in the gigolo business.  Taking the names "Virgil and Bongo," comedy and humiliation are sure to ensue. Casting Allen is a smart bid to brand "Fading Gigolo" to the smart comedy crowd; Variety reports that Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara ("Modern Family") are also in talks to act alongside the comedic pair.

Italian-American Turturro has delivered four indie films to date, all of them well-reviewed, none of them commercial, from the superb semi-autobiographical "Mac" and Cannes entry "Illuminata" to outrageously funny "Romance & Cigarettes," which starred Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet and James Gandolfini and fell victim to the end of United Artists. "Romance & Cigarettes" was such a hit in Italy that financeers hired Turturro to direct a doc, "Passione," showcasing the music, old and new, of Naples. TOH interviewed Turturro for that must-see "music adventure," below.

This article is related to: Woody Allen, IN THE WORKS


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.