22.05.2013 1

Provence & Côte d'Azur: The next Woody Allen film is to be shot on the Côte d'Azur this summer

Woody Allen chooses Riviera as latest film set

Soon the towns of Antibes, Menton and Grasse will be taking over Cannes' mantle as the stage of celebrity this summer as Woody Allen reveals plans to shoot his latest film on the Riviera. The movie title might still be a secret but the stars are not. Allen's latest comedy will unite British favourite Colin Firth with fiesty American actress Emma Stone. The director's sister and producer, Letty Aronson, has already been seen location shopping but the details remain under wraps.

Legend of the big screen, Woody Allen has chosen the Côte to host his latest comedy

"All we know is that it's a period film," Évelyne Colle, member of the Alpes Maritimes Film Commission, told Nice Matin, "and the plot unfolds in the 1920s to 1930s era."

It comes as little surprise then that prince of period drama Colin Firth - star of Pride and Prejudice, The King's Speech and A Single Man - was quickly snapped up and cast for the leading role.

Fans on the Côte d'Azur can hope to get a glimpse of the actor and his soon-to-be co-star, Crazy Stupid Love heroine Emma Stone, in Antibes, Menton and northern Grasse from 7th July. Filming is expected to last at least 10 weeks and Allen's sister Letty Aronson is reportedly on the hunt for natural sets. Together with Stephen Tenenbaum, Aronson has worked on numerous of her famous sibling's recent blockbusters including To Rome with Love and Midnight in Paris.

Aronson was spotted paying a visit to Menton last week where she dropped into Villa Maria Séréna and its 19th century-style gardens, the Barrière Casino and finally the Serre de la Madone garden, which was built in 1924 by Major Lawrence Johnston. It is in this iconic garden that director Woody Allen is rumoured to be setting up his base camp, using the idyllic surroundings as a backdrop for much of the movie's action.

However, Colle believes the search for various locations is far from over. "They are still looking for some kind of castle or large manor house in the countryside surrounding Grasse or Vence," she said to Nice Matin

This new production comes hot on the heels of Allen's latest film, Blue Jasmine, which has only recently reached the completion phase and will not be released in the U.S. until 26th July. According to the film's distributor, Sony Pictures Classics, it is a "story of the final stages of an acute crisis and a life of a fashionable New York housewife" and stars film industry legends Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin.

Currently code named WASP 2013, the Riviera based project will be Allen's second film to be set in France and his eighth in Europe.

The announcement comes soon after the launch of the Côte d'Azur's latest tourism campaign which will see the south of France cement its reputation as the French capital of film. PACA's commercial giants have already begun organising themed tours and special exhibitions across the region's natural sets amidst claims that the big screen is the Riviera's most successful form of advertising.

Isabelle Younane

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Comment by Hugh Mitford | 24.05.2013

It's indeed a great pity that the owners, Nice Town Council have leased out the famous NICE FILM STUDIOS to private individuals and do not make it open to the public. The studios hold a fascinating history of producing many famous films. Even the swimming pool that Elizabeth Taylor insisted on having while filming there is still on the site, along with Mr Bean's car! Unfortunately, all closed to the public, no tours or visits allowed for many years! If the Côte d'Azur is serious about promoting the south of France as "the capital of film" then they should start with the Nice Film Studios! Hugh Mitford

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