There’s practically a premiere a minute in New York City, but when Woody Allen is the headlining name, it brings a whole new tenor to the proceedings. This explained the hordes of onlookers across the street from the Paris Theatre Wednesday night (not to mention the barricaded paparazzi) for the Piaget-sponsored Cinema Society screening of Allen’s latest addition to his oeuvre To Rome With Love. The film’s international cast—a mix of Italian stars like opera singer Fabio Armiliato and actress Alessandra Mastronardi and Hollywood regulars Judy Davis, Penelope Cruz and Jesse Eisenberg—runs amok in Rome, getting into romantic scrapes laced with a healthy dose of comically psychiatric misgivings. Eisenberg, known for his fast-talking persona, would seem a natural to play a younger Allen himself, but the famed auteur (who is also in the movie, as the hyper-verbal, paranoid father to Alison Pill’s newly engaged character) claims the Adventureland actor has a long way to go before he reaches his levels of neuroticism.
“I don’t know Jesse well enough to know, but he’d have to go a long way to beat me in real life,” laughed Allen.
The director’s own audition process is infamous for its inscrutability—enough to make any actor lose their mental marbles—but Greta Gerwig, who is Eisenberg’s onscreen girlfriend, had a blessedly uplifting experience.
“Well it was a very short meeting and then I got a call that he wanted me to actually audition so I am one of the few people who actually auditioned,” she beamed. “He gave me notes and then I acted and then I did it again. It was crazy. It’s like I really got the part.”
After the screening, folks headed over to Casa Lever for Italian themed drinks (Birra Moretti, Campari and Disaronno flowed easily) and food (mini ravioli, risotto and meatballs). While actors like Chris Rock, Julianna Margulies and Alec Baldwin (who posed for photographers instead of punching them) kept cool inside from the sweltering temperatures, Jon Hamm had most women practically in a state of heatstroke before he exited around 11pm.
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