In the film Fading Gigolo, John Turturro plays a cash-strapped New Yorker who decides to take part in the world’s oldest profession with a little help from Woody Allen. The high concept of Mr. Allen as pimp inspired many a giggle when the trailer to film debuted last month. Now comes news that Millennium Films has grabbed the U.S. rights to Fading Gigolo following its premiere at the continuing Toronto Film Festival. Liev Schreiber (currently on screens in Lee Daniels’ The Butler), Sharon Stone (currently on screens in Lovelace), Modern Family‘s Sofía Vergara and French actress Vanessa Paradis co-star.Written and directed by Turturro, who previously helmed the independent musical Romance & Cigarettes starring Kate Winslet and James Gandolfini, and is perhaps known more to youngsters for his hammed-up supporting turns in the Transformers movies, plays Fioravante, a struggling (and neurotic) New Yorker who becomes a professional Don Juan, wooing ladies such as the ones played by Stone, Paradis and Vergara. Allen, who is currently enjoying the immense critical success of this past summer’s Cate Blanchett vehicle Blue Jasmine, makes the rare acting-only appearance as Murray, Fioravante’s “manager.” Fading Gigolo follows the characters as they delve onto separate paths fueled by money and love.
The film has earned a few warm notices upon its premiere – The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy called it, “an odd, sometimes funny, other times touching, always modest look at a strange bunch of New Yorkers,” while The Guardian’s Catherine Shoard wrote “Turturro has given Allen his biggest and best on-screen turn in years: the part was written for him and it’s full of scope for aimble kvetching and nimble slapstick.” There is no word yet on when the film will be released. This marks one of the several high profile sales of the fall festival season, which ignited when The Weinstein Company purchased the Mia Wasikowska survival film Tracks at Telluride (the film is also set to play Toronto) as well as the crowdpleasing musical film Can a Song Save Your Life and Focus Features’ acquisition of the comedy Bad Words, which marks the directorial debut of Jason Bateman.