While on vacation this month, I learned that the Spanish really love Woody Allen. So, they must be thrilled the filmmaker has chosen their country for the location of his next film, which stars current Woodster regular Scarlett Johansson and new blood Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem, both of whom are from Spain. Although Spanish moviegoers apparently don't favor homegrown movies, their love for Allen's work and the fact that it isn't actually a product of Spanish cinema should allow for the production to appeal to the locals. The new film, a comedy primarily set in Barcelona, is set to begin shooting next month, and Allen has just confirmed the previously rumored title of Midnight in Barcelona. He tells The Guardian that it was the first title he picked, and it is definitely possible that he will change the name later.
In addition to filming in Barcelona, Allen will be shooting some scenes in the northern city of Oviedo. He was reportedly scouting locations there on Tuesday following a secret premiere of his latest film, Cassandra's Dream, in nearby Aviles. About 600 people got a sneak peek of the movie, starring Ewan McGregor, Tom Wilkinson and Colin Farrell, which is scheduled for an official premiere at the Venice Film Festival later this year (it would have screened at Cannes, but was supposedly said to be "unsuitable"). The city of Oviedo, which awarded Allen with a special arts prize in 2002, has a bronze life-size statue of the director. I doubt that Midnight in Barcelona will feature it, but it certainly would fit in with Allen's usual self-interest. We'll probably have to wait until late next year to see, but as for Cassandra's Dream, The Weinstein Co. will be distributing that one this November (and Spain will get it a month earlier).