As Benjamin Franklin once said, “The only things certain in life are death, taxes and a new Woody Allen movie every single year.” I paraphrase, but only for the sake of greater accuracy: now 77 years old, the quintessential New York writer-director shows no sign of relaxing his work rate. And why would he? His output is hit-and-miss, but only two years ago, “Midnight in Paris” proved that he can still hit pretty squarely, scoring the highest box office returns of his career and a fourth Oscar to boot.
This year may up his hit ratio further: after last year’s “To Rome With Love” fizzled into oblivion, good buzz is brewing for his latest, the Cate Blanchett-starring dramedy “Blue Jasmine,” which opens on July 26. Allen, however, has already moved on: resuming his recent European tour that has seen him shoot in London, Paris and Barcelona, he’s currently on the set of his 2014 project in the South of France.
As ever, the film is still untitled and we have no plot details to go on. And as ever, the cast is enviable: we already knew that Emma Stone and Oscar winner Colin Firth were attached — both stars collaborating with Allen for the first time. Today, meanwhile, he received further casting details, and the director’s capacity for attracting top-drawer character actors is undiminished.
Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden and two-time nominee Jacki Weaver are now on board, with both actresses also making their Woody debuts. (Doesn’t it seem like Harden should have done one of these by now?) Also along for the ride are two distinguished Brits: near-octogenarian theater dame and Emmy winner Eileen Atkins, most recently seen (albeit fleetingly) in “Beautiful Creatures” and Simon McBurney — whose last film appearance, coincidentally enough, was also alongside Colin Firth in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” Erica Leehrsen and Jeremy Shamos round out the ensemble at this point.
That’s all we have for you right now, so speculate away. Will Weaver have enough material for a third Oscar nod, for example? She doesn’t need much, after all. And are you happy to see Woody back on the Continent after “Blue Jasmine” briefly returned him to the US?