For the majority of his cinematic career, most people assumed Woody Allen was obsessed with New York City--highlights like Manhattan and Annie Hall effectively, and in some cases explicitly, served as love letters to the city that never sleeps.
However, if the last decade or so of the nebbishy auteur's canon has reveled anything, it's that Allen's fixation on New York was less about the specifics of the city than it was about his general concept of "place" and the idea that the setting of a film can be as much of a character in the story as even the most major leading of actors. In films like Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Midnight In Paris, the director has had a late-career renaissance traipsing around Europe making movies so fetishistic about their host cities they might as well have been commissioned by the tourism boards.
Now it looks like Allen's backpacking adventure around Europe has finally come to an end. At a press event promoting his newest film, To Rome With Love, Allen reveled that his next movie will primarily be filmed in San Francisco.
The announcement of the location of the still untitled project puts to rest rumors that the director planned on setting his next movie in Copenhagen.
Cinemablend speculated that, given Allen's current pace of making one new movie per year, the film, which is also going to do a bit of shooting in New York, will likely begin production later this year. Casting rumors have fingered Cate Blanchett and Bradley Cooper as leads.
As SFist noted, the last time one of Allen's cinematic projects came to Baghdad by the Bay, it was for 1972's Play It Again Sam, a movie written and staring, but not directed by, Allen. Before that, he performed stand-up at the historic Purple Onion comedy club in the 1960s.
Allen has claimed the main reason for his recent string of European-set movies is largely financial. "Getting money in this country is impossible," Allen's sister and long-time producing partner Letty Aronson told movie blog Thompson on Hollywood earlier this year. "It would be nice to do a film in the U.S. again. But in Europe there is greater regard for the filmmaker."
If any San Franciscans are itching to get their local Allen fix before the movie eventually comes out, they can see Word For Word's performance of Allen's play The Kugelmass Episode at City Arts & Lectures in May. In the typically high-concept fashion of Allen's stage works, the play follows the misadventures of a modern man who, with the help of a magician, attempts to have an affair with the titular anti-heroine from Gustave Flaubert's novel Madame Bovary.