In To Rome With Love, Woody Allen’s most recent traveling roadshow in an iconic European locale, the director steps in front of the camera for the first time since 2006’s Scoop. He plays a retired music-recording exec who visits Rome with his wife (Judy Davis) to meet their daughter’s Italian fiancé, whose father just so happens to be an undiscovered opera virtuoso — as long as he performs in the shower. It’s one of four amusing story threads, but fans of Allen’s most memorable on-screen neurotics will be drawn to Jesse Eisenberg, who plays an American architectural student tempted by his girlfriend’s free-spirited old classmate (Ellen Page). Eisenberg’s previous work — especially in movies like The Squid and the Whale and Zombieland — seemingly pointed him towards an inevitable collaboration with Allen, and you can sense the writer/director may have felt the same way by the way he wrote Eisenberg’s character’s relationship with an older, wiser architect played by Alec Baldwin. When the young man is thrust into an awkward romantic situation where he has to navigate a moral dilemma, you can almost hear two voices whispering advice into Eisenberg’s ear: Baldwin’s architect and Woody Allen himself.
With Rome out on Blu-ray today, the 29-year-old Eisenberg spoke to EW about working with a legend, his next appearance on the New York stage, and an upcoming reunion with Zombieland co-star Woody Harrelson. Click below for a Q&A and an exclusive video extra clip from the new Blu-ray.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Woody Allen is famous for being very particular about selecting the right actors for his films, but then being hands-off and letting them do what they want once the production begins.
JESSE EISENBERG: Yes, I guess he was very open-minded about letting the actors kind of fill up the space. A lot of the shots are just one shot and because you’d don’t have an opportunity to edit many different shots together, you kind of have to fill up a lot of the space between the written dialog, so he was just very open to us saying anything. I think he’s the best script writer, so it seems a little strange to be improvising in a movie of his. But he just wants things to sound casual and to kind of move quickly so there’s not a lot of dead space. READ FULL STORY