“Midnight in Paris” almost did not get made in Paris “Woody Wednesday”

Manhattan (1979)Manhattan (1979)

The director and actress (pictured in front of the Queensboro Bridge in NYC) ended their years-long collaboration after this film, about an eccentric New Yorker who falls for the mistress of his best friend. Allen was nominated for a best writing Oscar. 

 

Amazing story.

January 25, 2012, 10:33 am <!– — Updated: 12:57 pm –>

‘Midnight in Paris’ Almost Didn’t Happen in Paris

By MELENA RYZIK
Letty Aronson at the Producers Guild Awards on Saturday.Frederick M. Brown/Getty ImagesLetty Aronson at the Producers Guild Awards on Saturday.
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When she got the script for “Midnight in Paris,” Letty Aronson, Woody Allen’s longtime producer, wasn’t buying it. “When I first read the script, honestly, my impression was, who’s going to come to this movie?” said Ms. Aronson, who also happens to be the director’s sister. “Nobody even knows Gertrude Stein anymore.”

Mr. Allen disagreed. “Woody felt that you didn’t really have to know those people to appreciate the film,” Ms. Aronson said. He may have been right. The movie, one of the biggest independents of last year, was also the highest-grossing film of Mr. Allen’s directing career, and on Tuesday it earned four Oscar nominations: for best director, picture, original screenplay – his 15th nomination in that category — and art direction.

But even when Ms. Aronson acquiesced to Mr. Allen’s vision, the movie almost didn’t get made. She traveled to Paris several years ago to scout for the shoot, hiring a few crew members, but production there proved too expensive. So Mr. Allen shelved the script for a few years, making other movies in London and New York in the interim, until the French government passed a film tax credit in 2009. Production began in Paris in 2010. (That Mr. Allen cast Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the first lady of France, couldn’t have hurt his standing with the French government.)

Was the script, about a writer (Owen Wilson) who travels back in time to meet great authors of 1920s Paris, based on his own insecurities as a young writer? “Maybe,” Ms. Aronson said. “There’s no question I think that if he were Owen’s age, he would’ve played that part. I know that he’s a very big Fitzgerald and Hemingway fan.”

Nonetheless, Mr. Allen has never campaigned for his movies during Oscar season, and has never shown up when he’s been nominated. “It’s just not his thing, really,” she said. “I’m sure that he is appreciative of and gratified by having been nominated, but participating is not his strong suit.”

Ms. Aronson, on the other hand, will be there. “Absolutely, you can ink me in,” she said.

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