The latest stop in writer/director Woody Allen’s tour of Europe has, up until this point, been referred to as Nero Fiddled, which is a clever title referring to the myth that the Roman Emperor Nero played a fiddle while watching the city burn to the ground. Clever though it is, it’s also a little high-brow, and probably would go over the heads of most mainstream audiences. Normally going over the heads of the masses wouldn’t be much of a problem for a New York intellectual like Allen, but following the substantial and slightly surprising success of Midnight in Paris, one would imagine that the studio is looking to bring all those people that made their way out to the theater back for Woody’s next any way that they can.
Perhaps to that end, the movie has been retitled, right before its marketing campaign looks to begin. From now on the project that stars names like Ellen Page, Penélope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg, and Woody himself will known as To Rome With Love, a title that once again mentions the city in which it is set by name, and that feels right at home sitting next to Midnight in Paris.
Of course, it should be mentioned that tying this film more closely with Allen’s recent success isn’t the official reason given for the retitling. A statement released by Sony Pictures Classics stated that, “Nero Fiddled, while an appropriate and humorous phrase in the U.S., is not a familiar expression overseas and many international territories preferred a more globally understood name.” So apparently a lack of subtle word play is the real culprit. No, I’m going to stick with the idea that they’re trying to position this as a companion piece to Midnight in Paris as my go-to theory.
To be released in theaters on June 22nd, To Rome With Love is a film described by SPC as being, “a story about a number of people in Italy — some American, some Italian, some residents, some visitors — and the romances and adventures and predicaments they get into.” If it starts and ends with a montage of Roman street scenes, then we’ll know that the studio has really gotten their teeth into the thing. [via THR]