After “Midnight in Paris,” Woody Allen will return to the French capital for his 50th movie which he’s described as a “poisonous romantic thriller” with a pair of French stars, Valerie Lemercier (“Aline”) and Niels Schneider (“Love Affair(s))”. Other French actors confirmed include Elsa Zylberstein (“Simone”), Lou de Laage (The Mad Women’s Ball”) and Melvil Poupaud (“One Fine Morning”).
The untitled film, the plot of which is being kept under wraps, will start filming next month and will be entirely in French with a budget in the $10-million range. Allen has described the film to be similar to “Match Point,” in that it would be “exciting, dramatic and also very sinister.”
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Allen sparked headlines earlier this week after Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia ran a story reporting that the New York-based filmmaker had told them he was planning on retiring. Allen’s representative then issued a statement saying that the director had “no intention of retiring.”
Lemercier is a popular French actor-director whose latest film “Aline,” a movie about Celine Dion, world premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and earned her a best actor prize at the Cesar Awards. Schneider is a French actor who is currently finishing the shoot of Xavier Giannoli’s crime series “Tikkoun” and previously starred in Emmanuel Mouret’s “Love Affair(s).” The movie will reteam Allen with the team that worked on « Midnight in Paris, » notably Raphael Benoliel at Firstep, and costume designer Sonia Grande.
Allen has been shooting films in Europe for decades; for instance “Match Point,” “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and “Midnight in Paris,” which won an Oscar for best original screenplay. But he has now lost major support in the U.S. following the resurfacing of abuse allegation involving his daughter Dylan and his comments about the #MeToo movement. He’s believed to be facing more difficulties to find big-name American actors willing to star in his films. Rebecca Hall, Timothée Chalamet and Greta Gerwig, for instance, said they regretted working with Allen.
Allen’s latest movie, “Rifkin’s Festival,” was filmed in Spain with a cast led by Elena Anaya, Louis Garrel and Gina Gershon. Despite the allegation, Allen’s movies have typically been popular in France, often scoring the highest international box office performances in the country. But “Rifkin’s Festival,” which opened the San Sebastian Film Festival in 2020, sold under 100,000 tickets in France.
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