Manhattan, Who? Woody Allen Chooses Italy for His Next Critic-Endearing Film Project Abroad

Manhattan, Who? Woody Allen Chooses Italy for His Next Critic-Endearing Film Project Abroad

HasWoody Allen officially ditched his beloved New York again? Sure looks like it. After traveling to the City of Light for his latest film, "Midnight in Paris," theOscar-winning filmmaker is back in another great European city this time, Rome to film "TheBop Decameron," a comedy featuring Roberto Benigni, Jesse Eisenberg, EllenPage, Penelope Cruz, and Judy Davis. Allen met with the city's mayor, GianniAlemanno, before starting production on "The Bop Decameron" Monday.

While Allen becamewell-known for capturing the Big Apple's intellectual upper crust in films like"Annie Hall," "Manhattan," and "Husbands andWives," his focus seems to have strayed across the Atlanticin recent years.

That makes "TheBop Decameron" the eighth movie Allen has filmed on Europe in as many years,following "Midnight in Paris," "Vicky, Christina, Barcelona," and four featuresshot in London ("You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger," "Cassandra's Dream,""Scoop," and "Match Point"). The only exception to this string of foreign-made films was 2009's "Whatever Works," which Allen made withLarry David in NewYork.

Why the wanderlust? Not only doesAllen get more respect from European cinephiles, he also finds it easier to getfinancing there. He blames Hollywood'saffinity for big budget blockbusters for his departure to Europe."In the United Statesthings have changed a lot, and it's hard to make good small films now," he said in a 2004 Guardian interview.

But in fact, the filmmaker mayjust be returning to his European roots with his latest string of films. Allen made his big screen debut with a 1965slapstick comedy shot in Paris, "What's New Pussycat," the story of a handsomewomanizer whose attempts to settle down with the woman he loves are thwarted bya bevy of lustful sexpots.

Don't bet onAllen leaving New York for good, however. "I love New York. And I am sureI will come back and work here," he said in a recent interview withReuters. "The only two things that have kept me from hereis when a foreign place has put up the money and insisted that I work there orI couldn't afford to work here."