A Minute With: Woody Allen on "Rome" and home

Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:09pm EDT
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After the success of last year's "Midnight in Paris", filmmaker Woody Allen is back again with a European-set comedy, "To Rome With Love", in which he also stars.

With a cast featuring Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz, Ellen Page and others, the film portrays intertwining stories including that of an young man (Jesse Eisenberg) in the love triangle of his youth, a middle-aged man (Roberto Benigni) who becomes an overnight celebrity and an undertaker whose operatic voice only comes alive in the shower.

The movie opened in major U.S. cities last Friday and will expand around the United States in weeks to come. Allen talked with Reuters about the movie, his own singing abilities and why he never has family night at home.

Q: Jesse Eisenberg seems to be playing a younger version of a role you would have once played on screen. True?

A: "I would have played Jesse's part if I was young. I'm a very limited actor but that's one of the things I could play well. I would have been able to be stuck with (actress) Greta Gerwig in a nice relationship but also having the sexually precocious, mysterious guest (Ellen Page) in the house."

Q: "Midnight in Paris" became your highest grossing film at the boxoffice. Which actor played you most effectively on screen. Owen Wilson in "Paris," or Jesse in "Rome?"

A: "Owen pulled off a part that I would have played years ago, but not playing it like me. Maybe because Owen is such a cowboy - he's from Texas. He's a surfer and beachcomber. He's so unlike me that he could play that part, and you wouldn't think of him doing me. Jesse is urban and very much like me. I would have played that part like Jesse (played it). Maybe not as well because he's got that fast, very skillful delivery, but Jesse could play characters that I play very, very effectively."

Q: You have two adopted daughters with your wife Soon-Yi who are now 12 and 13. Do you guys ever gather for family nights and watch your films?   Continued...

U.S. director Woody Allen (L) poses with Spanish actress Penelope Cruz (C) and Italian actor Roberto Benigni during a photocall for the film" To Rome with Love" in Rome, April 13, 2012. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini