Many factors make a Woody Allen movie uniquely Woody Allen. While his style incorporates distinctive dialogue, neurotic characters and beautiful city landscapes—casting has always been his strong suit. In both To Rome With Love and last year’s Midnight in Paris, several of young Hollywood’s brightest stars have joined Allen’s ensemble.Since Allen most frequently played the anxious leading men he also wrote about, finding the right young men in Hollywood to replace him is a sensitive and daunting task. After his roles in Zombieland, Adventureland and in some respects The Social Network, Jesse Eisenberg may be the most competent choice to someday fill Allen’s shoes.
In To Rome With Love, Eisenberg plays a more down to earth character than one might expect. His character, Jack, is more collected then anxious, but he easily falls victim to Monica’s faux intellectuality and wild storytelling. Hopefully Eisenberg has proven himself and we see him in future Allen projects.
To Rome With Love marks Alison Pill’s second appearance in an Allen film, the first being Midnight in Paris, in which she played Zelda Fitzgerald. Allen has obviously found something he likes in Pill, and no doubt we’ll see her again. To Rome With Love adds two additional young Hollywood actresses to the mix, Ellen Page and Greta Gerwig. While Page’s character in To Rome With Love captures her energy and style, proving herself a capable neurotic Allen player, Gerwig was underutilized. With her mumblecore background, Gerwig seems a natural choice to become an Allen regular and hopefully will get another shot.
Eisenberg, Pill, Page and Gerwig are in great company after having been cast in their first Woody Allen films. With the talent of young Hollywood on the rise, Allen’s signature style will remain delightfully fresh. Now, if only Allen would cast Michael Cera in his next project.