With Woody Allen’s summer hit Midnight in Paris his highest grosser ever and heading for Oscar contention, the filmmaker has seen the wisdom of changing the name of his next film, his first shot and financed in Rome, from The Bop Decameron, which got too many stares, says Allen, to the more accessible Nero Fiddled (2012). “I couldn’t believe how few people had heard of The Decameron even in Rome,” he says. “And the few that did assumed the movie was based on Boccaccio’s tales which it’s not.” The change marks the second time Allen has altered a title; the first was replacing Anhedonia with Annie Hall, which went on to win the best picture Oscar.
For this one, Allen returns to the screen for the first time since 2006’s Scoop, co-starring with Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig and Ellen Page. This movie is “not the same kind of picture” as Midnight in Paris, he told me in May. “It’s not as romantic. It’s more an out-and-out comedy. I don’t know Rome as well as I know Paris.” He went back to his Midnight in Paris director of photography, Darius Khondji.
Nero Fiddled, a Gravier Productions film produced by Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, is the first Woody Allen picture financed by Italy’s Medusa Film.