To Rome with Love is a kaleidoscopic comedy movie set in one of the world’s most enchanting cities. The film brings us into contact with a well-known American architect reliving his youth; an average middle-class Roman who suddenly finds himself Rome’s biggest celebrity; a young provincial couple drawn into separate romantic encounters; and an American opera director endeavoring to put a singing mortician on stage.
Well-known architect John (Alec Baldwin) is vacationing in Rome, where he once lived in his youth. Walking in his former neighborhood he encounters Jack (Jesse Eisenberg), a young man not unlike himself. As he watches Jack fall head-over-heels for Monica (Ellen Page), his girlfriend Sally’s (Greta Gerwig) dazzling and flirtatious friend, John relives one of the most romantically painful episodes of his own life.
At the same moment, retired opera director Jerry (Woody Allen) flies to Rome with his wife Phyllis (Judy Davis), to meet their daughter Hayley’s (Alison Pill) Italian fiancée, Michelangelo (Flavio Parenti). Jerry is amazed to hear Michelangelo’s undertaker father, Giancarlo (renowned tenor Fabio Armiliato) singing arias worthy of La Scala while lathering up in the shower. Convinced that talent that prodigious cannot be kept hidden, Jerry clutches at the opportunity to promote Giancarlo and rejuvenate his own career.
Leopoldo Pisanello (Roberto Benigni) on the other hand is an exceptionally boring guy, who wakes up one morning and finds himself one of the most famous men in Italy with many unanswered questions. Soon the paparazzi trail his every move and question his every motivation. As Leopoldo grows accustomed to the varied seductions of the limelight, he gradually realizes the cost of fame.
Meanwhile, Antonio (Alessandro Tiberi) has arrived from the provinces in Rome hoping to impress his straight-laced relatives with his lovely new wife Milly (Alessandra Mastronardi) so that he can get an upscale big city job. Through comic misunderstanding and chance, the couple is separated for the day. Antonio ends up passing off a stranger (Penélope Cruz) as his wife, while Milly is romanced by legendary movie star Luca Salta (Antonio Albanese).
While Rome is a city abundant with romance and comedy, Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love is about people having adventures that will change their lives forever.
- The working title of the project was "The Bop Decameron"
- It’s loosely inspired by Giovanni Boccaccio's "The Decameron" (classic collection of 100 bawdy novellas written in the 1350s)
- The film will be shot on 69 sets in Rome, Italy
- Woody Allen changed the title to “Nero Fiddled” because he thought people didn't understand the working title
- The film was retitled shortly before the release because Nero Fiddled, while an appropriate and humorous phrase in the U.S., is not a familiar expression overseas and many international territories preferred a more globally understood name
- Actress Elizabeth Olsen auditioned for the role that eventually went to Ellen Page
- The actors and actresses were only allowed to see their own pages of the script
- The film debuted at No. 1 and made $3.7 million from 599 screens during its opening weekend in Italy
- "He’s much less precious about his words than Whit Stillman. He’s always encouraging us to not say the script as written, which was a little intimidating because he’s one of my favorite writers, not just of screenplays, but also of essays and comedy pieces. His writing also sounds like Woody Allen, but it also sounds like Diane Keaton. My line would be like, ‘Well she’s really the one, she’s always been the one,’ which sounds like something Diane Keaton would say. But then he’d say, ‘Oh, just throw it out’ and I’d be like, ‘You’re Woody Allen, I can’t throw out your line, are you kidding me? I cling to these words!'" (actress Greta Gerwig on working with director Woody Allen; Source: blogs.indiewire.com)
- “I’ve always wanted to make a film in Rome. It’s obviously one of the great cities of the world, and when you make a film in a foreign city you get a chance to spend several months there, so shooting in Rome gave me and my family an opportunity to really enjoy a city I love in a way that I don’t usually get to. I wrote the film especially for Rome because over the years and my many visits there little ideas occurred to me, and I was able to utilize those ideas to comic advantage, romantic advantage, combined with the visual beauty of Rome.” (director Woody Allen on the movie; Source: Los Angeles Film Fest press release)
- “Well, you know, Woody Allen wrote it, so that has nothing to do with it. And also, it was just a role and a character that I had not done before — at all — so it was exciting and challenging and nerve-wracking, and all those things which are really nice to feel.” (actress Ellen Page on what led her to choose the script; Source: www.mtv.com)
- “I guess, probably just exploring something that was so far removed from myself. Like, I was confused as to why Woody wanted me to do it, you know? It scared me and I think it was about figuring out how to be able to feel comfortable in that and do something new.” (actress Ellen Page on what attracted her to the role; Source: www.mtv.com)
- “I don't know about comfortability, but maybe believing it. You know, like you yourself and hoping that others will too. And it's challenging because it's confusing. When you're doing something that's for a vignette, you have limited time. It's not like you are going in depth with this strenuous arc of a character. So in some ways that makes it more difficult or more confusing.“ (actress Ellen Page on the challenges of her role; Source: www.mtv.com)
- “Trippy. I feel like that would be the best way to put that. It's a hard thing to really wrap your head around when it's happening — to be standing on the golden, sunlit streets of Rome with Jesse, who's so wonderful and such a talented actor. And then [there's] Woody Allen walking up to you to give you direction. It's a very dreamlike feeling. I sort of forget that it even happened. It's weird.” (actress Ellen Page on working with director Woody Allen; Source: www.mtv.com)
- “They're both awesome, and Greta Gerwig as well. We had such a great time together and Jesse is so kind and so down-to-earth. Alec and Greta as well. Just three lovely people to spend every day with all day. I had a really nice time getting to know Alec. I've been such a huge fan of his for so long and I think he's wonderful.” (actress Ellen Page on her co-stars Alec Baldwin and Jesse Eisenberg; Source: www.mtv.com)
- “I’ve been in love with Woody Allen since I was 13. It was some weird combination of Woody Allen, Steve Martin and Bill Murray. It’s like my dream man. I was so honored to be there and I couldn’t believe I got cast. I feel like I didn’t get to experience the experience because I was so in awe of everything. I was just like “Get through the day. Don’t get fired. Just get through the day.” If I could go back, I would say “Just enjoy it. Drink up the Woody Allen moment.” It’s so hard because you’re scared. For me, it was like my equivalent of if I were an athlete and I got to be in the Olympics. I’m sure that just goes by you and you don’t get to really feel that you’re there. I loved doing it and I loved the other actors in it. Most of my scenes were with Alec Baldwin and Ellen Page and Jesse Eisenberg. I adore each and every one of them. I loved them so much. We all supported each other and made it less intimidating.” (actress Greta Gerwig on working with director Woody Allen and her co-stars; Source: collider.com)
- “I had a wonderful time making it, living in Italy, eating pasta and working with beautiful actresses and scintillating men. If you do like it however, pressure Sony so they don’t put it in the witness protection program. So if you like the picture I’m thrilled, if you hate it and think it was a waste of time, don’t let me know because I get depressed easily.” (Director Woody Allen on making the movie and his opinion on audience feedback; Source: showbiz411.com)
- “I wanted someone who was not sexual in a heavy-handed way. If I wanted an overtly sexual actress, I would cast someone like Scarlett Johansson. There are many actresses who blind you by how sexy they are. Ellen is a very sweet girl, but she can project something complicated and mysterious. You don't know too much about her - she gives you this neurotic feeling - but you know that sex with her would be an interesting experience. I didn't have to direct her: All I did was cast her. She took these monologues I gave her and did wonderful things with them. It was a treat to watch her in the dailies.” (Director Woody Allen on casting Ellen Page as seductive and predatory actress; Source: miamiherald.com)