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The Reeler Blog

Weinsteins and Woody Follow the Money

Few horrors rival the acute trauma of losing a hero, but losing two heroes at once amounts to a special kind of misery, like watching a burning puppy run into the street before it's smacked by oncoming traffic. Today I am that burning puppy, and the twin-engine roadster powered by Botswana and Barcelona has barreled over me with the news that the Weinstein Company and Woody Allen are enjoying new life as each entity's new civic mascots.

Well, kind of, anyhow. For starters, Gregg Kilday reports, the ever-savvy Weinsteins managed to find the only country on Earth with no knowledge of last year's abortion Breaking and Entering to not only host but finance part of director Anthony Minghella's follow-up, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. The African nation is dumping $5 million into the Alexander McCall Smith adaptation with the hope that the first-ever all-Botswana production (starring Jill Scott as the owner of Botswana's only female private detective firm) and its imminent TV spin-off will "help kick-start a film industry in our country." If only the Weinsteins had known such aspirations last year -- think of the money they could have saved on Factory Girl. Alas. The film starts shooting July 9; reassuringly, I'm told that neither Harvey nor Bob will evidently be spending much time on the set.

Going even further out of his way is Woody Allen, whose new Scarlett Johansson/Penelope Cruz/Javier Bardem film also begins shooting next week. He joined a press conference Monday in Barcelona to laud the city in among the more grotesque fashions imaginable:

“I hope I can present Barcelona to the world as I see it, the same way I presented Manhattan to the world as I saw it with my eyes,” said Allen, dressed in a natty fly-fisherman hat... “I want to write a love letter to Barcelona and from Barcelona to the world,” he added, as much perhaps by way of diplomacy as clarification.

That affection is returned by Barcelona and Spain at large.

Standing next to him, Spain’s ebullient Culture Minister Carmen Calvo proved Allen’s closest fan, producing a fuchsia-colored abanico to profusely fan the director, before declaring that Allen “makes philosophy with cinema. He’s a brilliant example of what cinema represents in contemporary culture.”

You mean the part about exiled Americans pulling money from other governments' coffers to help fund their projects? Yes, Woody is indeed getting good at that. I just know I'll never see the guy again. This is my heart, broken.

Posted at July 3, 2007 3:32 PM

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