News / Arts & Entertainment

Woody Allen's 'Midnight in Paris' is Love Letter to City of Light

Left to Right: Michael Sheen as Paul, Nina Arianda as Carol, Rachel McAdams as Inez and Owen Wilson as Gil
Left to Right: Michael Sheen as Paul, Nina Arianda as Carol, Rachel McAdams as Inez and Owen Wilson as Gil

Multimedia

Audio

The films of Woody Allen have famously celebrated the romantic side of his native New York. His latest comedy shines that spotlight on another city that, for many, is synonymous with romance.  Here's a look at Midnight In Paris.



GIL: "This is unbelievable! There's no city like this in the world."
INEZ: "You're in love with a fantasy."


For aspiring American novelist Gil Pender, the fantasy comes alive as he visits Paris with his pragmatic fiancée Inez. She thinks it's a nice place to sightsee and shop. But Gil, like generations of writers and artists before him, finds inspiration in the cafes and bars once haunted by Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Picasso. So imagine his amazement when, out alone one midnight, he finds himself transported, in an elegant old Peugeot no less, into their presence. 

ADRIANA: "Tell me more about your book."
GIL: "My book is kind of… You know what? I couldn't care less about my book tonight. I just want to walk around Paris with you."
ADRIANA: "I keep forgetting you are just a tourist."
GIL: "That's putting it mildly."


Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard plays the captivating woman Gil meets on his nightly visits to 1920's café society. And Owen Wilson stars as the wide-eyed visitor from across the decades.

Writer/director Woody Allen admits the story had prosaic origins.

"I was going to make a film in Paris because it was being financed and I had no idea for a film in Paris," he explains. "I thought that it would be a romantic film because we all grew up on Paris in the movies as romantic and I thought of the title, Midnight in Paris. For a long time - six weeks or so - I didn't know what happened at midnight in Paris. Do two people meet? Are they having an affair? What is happening? Then one day it occurred to me that the protagonist would be walking along on the street, a car would pull up and there would be some exciting people and they would take him on an adventure."

Gil finds himself drawn to the lifestyle of those great artists from long ago in the story that Allen weaves gently and naturally.  But the director credits his cast.  

"As soon as they are hired for the movie, I tell them that they are free. If there's a joke or a speech I wrote that embarrasses them to say, they don't want to say it and I couldn't care less. They can say it in their own words. As long as they make it real and exciting or amusing, I am very happy to take credit for it later," Allen jokes.

At the Cannes Film Festival, where Midnight in Paris had its international debut, lead actor Owen Wilson said the director's style put him at ease.

"The way that Woody worked with me was he gave me a lot of freedom to try different things and wasn't so exacting on getting every word precise. So I felt very comfortable trying different things," Wilson explains.

Rachel McAdams plays Gil's fiancée, puzzled by his nightly disappearances. "Comfortable" is also the way McAdams describes Allen's approach to filmmaking.

"I just really appreciated how much he trusts in the people he has around him," says McAdams. "The whole set had an ease to it, and everyone felt really relaxed and comfortable and I think that makes for better work."

McAdams describes Midnight in Paris as "a love letter" to the City of Light. And the cast also features Carla Bruni Sarkozy, France's first lady, in a small role that Woody Allen says he offered her on a whim.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

Avery Sunshine is known for her irresistible combination of soul, jazz and gospel influences. She’s traveled the world entertaining audiences with her powerful voice, inspiring lyrics and infectious spirit. She joins host Shawna Renee on "The Soul Lounge" to perform and share the stories behind her new album, "The Sun Room."