Nov 8th, 2007

When you think Woody Allen, actors like Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts and Mia Farrow are the names that most immediately come to mind. But these days, the king of all New York filmmakers has been busy injecting his usual recipe with some spicy Spanish flavoring.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” star Javier Bardem told us of the film’s title. “That’s the name of the American characters, which are Rebecca Hall (The Prestige) and Scarlett Johansson. [They’re] the two girls that go to our salon; but I don’t know if that is going to be the final title or not.”

As any fan of the 71-year-old filmmaker knows, not only is Allen still doing his best to crank out a movie a year (he’s only missed 1991 since the early Eighties), but he has also maintained a Spielberg-esque routine of keeping his modestly-budgeted films as secret as possible.

“[Johansson and Hall play tourists] who are coming to Barcelona, and it’s about relationships,” Bardem said of the film, due in theaters next year. “Penelope Cruz plays [my] ex-wife, and there is a triangle there – but it is much more than that.”

Playing a painter in the film, Bardem sought advice from his Before Night Falls director, an artist himself. “I have had good input from Julian Schnabel,” he said of the acclaimed neo-expressionist, “and also from the guy whose paintings are in the movie. He helped me a lot to understand, and help me paint the way he does.”

The flick marks a major departure for Allen, who will see much of his dialogue spoken in Spanish. “It has both, Spanish and English, but most of the time English,” explained Bardem, insisting that it’s actually him and Cruz who have had to do the most adjusting. “Working with a second language is difficult, because improvising is not easy when you have to work in a foreign language.”

While shooting in Spain, Allen’s improvisational directing style has been a freeing experience for Bardem. “I did have great fun doing it, and a great chance to work, as an actor, with amazing dialogue and amazing circumstances and situations. And I did it all so fast that you don’t have time to think; you have to be really open and just be.”

Unlike such Allen leading men as John Cusack (Bullets Over Broadway) or Kenneth Branaugh (Celebrity), however, Bardem resisted the temptations to deliver Woody’s lines with his trademark mannerisms. “No, the character that I portrayed has nothing to do with that side that you are mentioning,” he laughed at the thought of him stuttering and fumbling with eyeglasses. “It is more of a kind of normal guy, who struggles with relationships.”

If you believe the tabloids, Bardem and Cruz have been taking their work home, as the couple have been linked romantically. But as far as the No Country for Old Men actor is concerned, he was just happy to be working with the actress on-screen again. “It was great, because we never worked together since Jamon, jamon, which was ‘91,” he grinned. “It was a great chance to meet again, and it’s funny because you are working with a Spaniard in a foreign language; that was a little bit weird.”

Source: MTV Movies Blog

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