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Woody Allen Ditches Decameron Title for Nero Fiddled

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 13, 2011 at 9:57AM

With Woody Allen's summer hit Midnight in Paris his highest grosser ever and heading for Oscar contention, the filmmaker has seen the wisdom of changing the name of his next film, his first shot and financed in Rome, from The Bop Decameron, which got too many stares, says Allen, to the more accessible Nero Fiddled (2012). "I couldn't believe how few people had heard of The Decameron even in Rome," he says. "And the few that did assumed the movie was based on Boccaccio's tales which it's not." The change marks the second time Allen has altered a title; the first was replacing Anhedonia with Annie Hall, which went on to win the best picture Oscar.
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Thompson on Hollywood

With Woody Allen's summer hit Midnight in Paris his highest grosser ever and heading for Oscar contention, the filmmaker has seen the wisdom of changing the name of his next film, his first shot and financed in Rome, from The Bop Decameron, which got too many stares, says Allen, to the more accessible Nero Fiddled (2012). "I couldn't believe how few people had heard of The Decameron even in Rome," he says. "And the few that did assumed the movie was based on Boccaccio's tales which it's not." The change marks the second time Allen has altered a title; the first was replacing Anhedonia with Annie Hall, which went on to win the best picture Oscar.

For this one, Allen returns to the screen for the first time since 2006's Scoop, co-starring with Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig and Ellen Page. This movie is “not the same kind of picture” as Midnight in Paris, he told me in May. “It’s not as romantic. It’s more an out-and-out comedy. I don’t know Rome as well as I know Paris.” He went back to his Midnight in Paris director of photography, Darius Khondji.

Nero Fiddled, a Gravier Productions film produced by Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, is the first Woody Allen picture financed by Italy's Medusa Film.

This article is related to: Directors, Genres, Independents, IN THE WORKS, Woody Allen, comedy


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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.