To Rome with Love - Judy Davis, Woody Allen, Alison Pill and Flavio Parenti
Phyllis (Judy Davis), Jerry (Woody Allen), Hayley (Alison Pill) and Michelangelo (Flavio Parenti) ©2012 Gravier Productions, Inc

Continuing his tour of shooting in stunning European locations, Woody Allen’s new movie To Rome With Love is, like many of his films, a kaleidoscopic comedy of mishaps and relationships, but this one also focuses on fame.

For the first time since 2006, when he appeared in Scoop, Allen has written himself a role in To Rome With Love. He portrays a retired opera director named Jerry, who is in Rome to meet his daughter’s Italian fiancé, Michelangelo.

Attending the press conference for the movie, Mr Allen was relaxed, self-deprecating and a total delight.

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen you in front of the camera. Why now and for this particular movie, To Rome With Love?

To Rome with Love - Woody Allen and Roberto Benigni
Woody Allen and Roberto Benigni ©2012 Gravier Productions, Inc

When I write a script, if there’s a part for me then I play it. As I’ve gotten older, the parts have diminished. When I was younger I could always play the lead in the movie and I could do all the romantic scenes with the women. And it was fun and I liked to play that.

Now I’m older and I’m reduced to playing the backstage doorman or the uncle. And I don’t really love that. So, occasionally, when a part comes up I’ll play it.

So much of To Rome With Love is a meditation on fame and accomplishment. How you feel about fame in your own life at this point?

I myself feel about fame the way the chauffer talks about it in the movie. That life is tough. It’s tough whether you’re famous or whether you’re not famous. And in the end, between those two choices, it’s better to be famous because the perks are better.

You get better seats at the basketball game and you get better table [reservations].

I’m not saying it’s fair. It’s kind of disgusting in a way. But I can’t say that I don’t enjoy it. And there are drawbacks in being famous too. But you can live with those. They’re not life threatening.

Actors make such a [fuss] if the paparazzi are outside [their] restaurant or [their] house, and scurry into cars and drape things over [themselves]. You’d think they were going to be crucified or something. It’s not a big deal. You can get used to that. It’s not so terrible.

So, the bad stuff is greatly outweighed by the dinner reservations!

Woody Allen continues about To Rome With Love on page 2 (click below)

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.