Little Italy at the Paris Theatre

Published June 21, 2012

ABOVE: JON HAMM, HILARIA THOMAS, JENNIFER WESTFELDT, SCOTT ADSIT, AND ALEC BALDWIN AT THE PREMIERE OF TO ROME WITH LOVE. PHOTO COURTESY OF PATRICK MCMULLAN.

Last night, Woody Allen returned to acting as… pretty much Woody Allen. The writer-director-actor played Jerry, the failed opera director; his production of Rigoletto, in which all of the characters were dressed as white mice, was not well received. (“You’re ahead of your time,” his wife Phyllis, played by Judy Davis, comforts.)

There are arguably many Woody Allens in To Rome With Love—just as Owen Wilson took on an Allen-esque role in Midnight In Paris, in Rome fast-talking Jesse Eisenberg, neurotic Alessandro Tiberi, and a delightfully baffled Roberto Benigni (of Life is Beautiful) all represented different facets of the director’s prolific personality. As for Allen’s opinion of his many younger doppelgangers, he’s an enthusiastic fan: “Owen Wilson played it better than I could ever played it, and he gave it a great, universal humor. Jesse Eisenberg is a fast, nervous person, that talks sort of like me, and he was great too.” Penélope Cruz also makes a token lusty appearance in the film. “She called me before Vicki Christina Barcelona and said ‘If you’re making a film in Barcelona, I want to be in it,’ so I wrote the part for her. Then she called me again and said, ‘I speak Italian perfectly…'”

We had to fight through a mass of paparazzi and fans, all of who seemed quite focused on Alec Baldwin, much to his dismay. We don’t often get star-struck, but being in a room with Allen, Penélope Cruz, and Jon Hamm rather pushed us over the edge. Our most bizarre sighting by far, however, was Gossip Girl’s Matthew Settle, who inexplicably waltzed into the theater carrying a skateboard.

For more images from the premiere, click here.