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Vicky Cristina Barcelona in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Javier Bardem • Penélope Cruz • Scarlett Johansson • Rebecca Hall • Patricia Clarkson • Chris Messina
DIRECTOR: Woody Allen

Happy holiday THE CONCEPT:
Vicky (Hall) and Cristina (Johansson) are best friends, but have completely different attitudes towards love. When a distant relative of Vicky’s, Judy (Clarkson), invites them to stay with her for the summer in Barcelona they jump at the chance. One night while Vicky and Cristina are having dinner, a handsome artist, Juan Antonio (Bardem) approaches their table and invites them for a weekend trip to Oviedo, where they can explore the culture, drink and make love together. Despite Vicky’s outrage at the suggestion, Cristina persuades her to go, with surprising results…

U.S. RELEASE: August 15 2008, Nationwide
• Rated: PG-13


Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Scarlett Johansson and Woody Allen“Someone called me from Barcelona and said, ‘Would you like to make a picture here? We’ll finance it.’ That’s always the hardest part of making any picture, getting the financing for it, so I said sure, I had no idea for anything for it, and then about a week later I got a call from Penélope Cruz, she wanted to meet me. She knew I was doing a film in Barcelona and she would like to participate. I started out with Barcelona, Penelope, and in the back of my mind I was going to go to Scarlett. Then I heard Javier was interested, so gradually it took shape. I was deliberately writing for these people.”

Javier Bardem“I’m a huge admirer of Woody Allen’s movies. I heard he was coming to Spain to make a movie and I took it for granted that it was going to be a movie full of American actors. And then I got a phone call saying, ‘No, I want you to read it,’ and I had a heart attack and said, ‘Is this Woody Allen?’ And yes, it was Woody Allen, and he goes, ‘Would you be interested in reading it?’ And I said, ‘Of course.’ ‘Thank you.’ Click. I read it, and I called and said, ‘This looks pretty good, I have some questions,’ and he said, ‘Okay, we shoot in a month.’ Click. And I showed up on the set and they said, ‘Action.’ That’s Woody Allen.”

PENÉLOPE CRUZ (Maria Elena, Juan Antonio’s ex-wife):
Penélope Cruz“I would always want to do a take again, I drove him (Allen) crazy with that. The last day I think he ran out of patience because he was so sweet and so kind and he always said yes to one more take. But the last take, the last day, it was a difficult scene and I said, ‘Please, one more,’ and when we finished the last take, he was nowhere in sight. I think he was hiding from me.”

Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johansson“Woody writes such fantastic female roles, and the most exciting part about reading the script is getting to see what Penélope, [Rebecca] and I will be doing next. He has such an appreciation and understanding for the intricacies of the female mind. I think he would say that we’re a superior species, he loves the way women think, and it’s always some inspired character.”

ALLEN on whether Vicky is based on him:
“To me, that seems so outlandish, but apparently it’s not because [several] people have asked me that question. When I did Match Point someone said that Jonathan Rhys Meyers was playing my role. I thought how can someone possibly come to that [conclusion]? Not for a second would I think of myself in any relation to Vicky. “

“I don’t think so either. I think it’s something that comes out of the cult of Woody Allen – this idea that there’s always someone who’s playing the Woody Allen part. There are a lot of women who, faced with the kind of dilemmas Vicky is faced with who behave in a way that Vicky behaves, and you don’t go to those women and say, ‘You’re acting just like Woody Allen!’ It’s just because it’s a Woody Allen film.”

JOHANSSON on being Woody Allen’s new muse:
“We always get the muse question and we always say no, it’s not that way. I think I’m fortunate enough to fit into the young girl part of the story, just the same as Judy Davis would fit into a certain part, or Dianne West would fit into a certain part. Both Woody and I appreciate how wonderful it is to work with your friends, it’s fun and we always have a great time.”

“I had long scenes in English. I worked with a dialogue coach in order to make myself understood. And then Woody came to me and he started to take out the pages, and he said, ‘No, say it with your own words. Action!’ And I knew it all by heart! And I went, ‘No, I can’t say this in my own words.’ And I did it the way it was written, and he knew that, and he said, ‘Cut! Say it with your own words.’ And I went, ‘How can I say this in my own words, I’m not Woody Allen. This is brilliant dialogue.’ So all my battles were about saying what he wrote.”

“The atmosphere the director creates for all the actors [is important]. I love Woody’s system, because even if there are no rehearsals you never feel that he’s not there for you, he sees everything, and you feel that your director is taking care of you.”

“I have a very pessimistic view of relationships. My view has always been that you talk about it with your friends, you scheme, you plot, and you see psychoanalysts, you see marriage counselors, get medicated, do everything you can, but in the end you have to luck out. It’s complete and total luck.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Images above © MGM and The Weinstein Company
Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #699, August 2008 cover

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