Briefly: 2011 was a great year for Woody Allen. His playful, entertaining film Midnight in Paris turned into the year’s runaway arthouse hit, taking in $60m to become Allen’s greatest domestic success. Sony Classics has distributed the director’s last few films and after their stellar success with Midnight in Paris, I think it has been pretty much a foregone conclusion that his next movie, Nero Fiddled, would go out via the company as well.

Variety reports that deal has been set, with Sony Classics picking up North American and UK rights to the film, which stars Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penelope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig and Ellen Page. As is typically the case with a new Allen film we don’t know much about the plot — all we’ve got is that the Rome-set film “consists of four separate vignettes — two with American characters, two with Italian characters — but the vignettes never intersect.”

The film will get a summer 2012 release, and is a likely bet for a Cannes debut.

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Woody Allen Renames Upcoming Film ‘Nero Fiddled’

This past summer, Woody Allen enjoyed the unexpected success of his film Midnight in Paris, which has been going strong in arthouses since May with over $100m earned worldwide. He also shot a new film in Rome, and for quite some time he was planning to call the movie Bop Decameron. There’s a lot to like about that title — it’s very Woody Allen, and even a good bit more jaunty than most of his titles. But it isn’t the sort of title that will keep a movie on screens for six months. Midnight in Paris sounds romantic and enticing. Bop Decameron sounds like… well, I imagine Woody realized a lot of people might not know what it sounds like.

So the film is now called Nero Fiddled. Not as jaunty or romantic, but at least people will know what he’s talking about. I hope. Read More »

Blue Valentine director and star Derek Cianfrance and Ryan Gosling are back together for the multi-generational crime/grudge saga The Place Beyond the Pines. The film follows Gosling as a stunt cyclist who robs banks in order to provide for his son, and ands up entangled with cop-turned-politician Bradley Cooper. Their antagonism spills down the family tree, eventually involving their sons.

The large cast was said to include Greta Gerwig, but now we’ve learned that she had never fully signed on, and won’t be able to take part in the film due to other obligations. Stepping into the role earmarked for her will be Rose Byrne, of Damages and Bridesmaids. Read More »

Coming off Midnight in Paris, his biggest financial success in decades, Woody Allen is ready to shoot his 2012 film. It’s called The Bop Decameron and he’s just finalized the very impressive cast, many of which we were already aware of. The most exciting news is the confirmation that Allen himself will return to the screen after a few films off (his last one was 2006′s Scoop). He’ll star along with Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig and Ellen Page. It’ll start filming in Rome next month. No word on the plot, as Allen likes to keep those under wraps, but we try and decipher the title and announce more cast members after the jump. Read More »

Oh, look what Bridesmaids has done for Ellie Kemper: it scored her a gig in 21 Jump Street in her time off from The Office. The feature version of the ’80s TV show is shooting now with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as cops undercover in a high school to root out drugs and trouble. Late addition Ellie Kemper will be a love interest: Ms. Griggs, “an annoyingly sincere chemistry teacher who’s attracted to Tatum’s character and surprised when she discovers he’s not a real student.” (Sometimes casting like this is actually set for some time before it hits the trades, so it is possible Ellie Kemper isn’t as late an addition as she appears to be.)

The key point of interest here (for me, at least) continues to be that the Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller wrote and are directing. [Variety]

After the break, Gossip Girl’s Chace Crawford is looking like the co-star with Pierce Brosnan in The House Gun, and rapidly rising talent Joel Kinnaman is cast in the Fox Searchlight film Lola Versus, where he’ll dump Greta Gerwig. Read More »

Two-thirds of the topline creative team of Blue Valentine, director Derek Cianfrance and actor Ryan Gosling, are reuniting for the film The Place Beyond the Pines. Called a “multi-generational crime drama,” the film features a motorcycle stuntman who supports his son by robbing banks, played by Ryan Gosling, who finds his opposite number in police officer Bradley Cooper. Their conflict spirals into something that defines multiple generations.

Derek Cianfrance has drawn inspiration from Jack London and has compared his new film vaguely  to The Deer Hunter. Now he’s moving closer to a place where he could realize that ambitious comparison by expanding the film with a great female cast. Eva Mendes has signed for one role, and Greta Gerwig is circling another. Read More »

The new version of Arthur didn’t do so well, but co-star Greta Gerwig, who took on the Liza Minelli role, came out of it all more or less untarnished. She has already shot Whit Stillman’s very long in the making Damsels in Distress (fingers really and truly crossed for that to be good), and is now set for a new Fox Searchlight comedy with the intriguing title Lola Versus. (I think I saw that band play once in the ’90s.) And she might have company, in the form of Orlando Bloom, who is evidently making a full return to the screen after a few years away. Read More »

‘Arthur’ Trailer #2

Warner Bros has released a second movie trailer for the remake of Arthur. Russell Brand plays an “irresponsible charmer” named Arthur Bachwho will lose his limitless fortune if he doesn’t accept an arranged marriage. I’m still not sold on two things: 1. The need for this remake and 2. that this movie is funny enough to warrant a $10-$15 movie ticket. The only reason I’m curious to see the film is the involvement of Luis Guzman and the Batman/Robin bit that is teased in the advertising. Watch the trailer embedded after the jump. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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