Corey Stoll — the actor who portrays Ernest Hemingway in “Midnight in Paris” — puts nicely into words the reason he believes Woody Allen‘s most financially successful film ever ($55 million at U.S. box office) is also his most critically praised release in two decades (93 score at RottenTomatoes).
“Everybody who talks to me about the movie says that they have fantasized about Paris in the 1920s, so he’s tapped into that vein and really indulged in this nostalgia over a time when Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso and other artists were all around,” he says in our webcam chat. “Then he delivers an interesting perspective on how nostalgia is a dead end artistically and emotionally,” resulting in a realization that “the present is where it’s at.”
“Midnight in Paris” ranks sixth in Gold Derby’s list of films most likely to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. Twenty three out of 26 experts polled believe it will make the top academy list. The last time a Woody Allen film did so was 1986 (“Hannah and Her Sisters”).
To prepare for the role as Hemingway, Stoll spent months poring over the author’s writings. “I was trying to marinate in his rhythms and his cadences and his world view,” he adds. “I read his stories aloud so I could get that rhythm in me.”
But that didn’t prepare Stoll for the surprises he encountered on set when filming began, Woody invited the actors to improvise and the plot took magical, wild twists.
“I think Woody Allen likes to keep his actors off their balance so we have to react in the moment — that’s where that kind of screwball energy comes from,” Stoll adds.
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