Why Woody Allen Rewrote Midnight in Paris For Owen Wilson
By now, you've probably noticed that Midnight in Paris star Owen Wilson is not an obvious supplant for Woody Allen. Unlike Allen's previous stand-ins, Owen Wilson is less of a New York City neurotic and more of a laid back dude with tousled hair and the ability to act opposite Snoop Dogg in a remake of Starsky & Hutch. Which is why Allen never really considered casting the blonde Wilson brother and why, when he finally did, he had to redraft his entire script.
In a new interview with THR, Allen explained the process of Owen Wilson-izing his Parisian movie:
"The lead was a more East Coast character in the original script (casting director) Juliet Taylor suggested Owen Wilson. I had always been a fan of his, but always felt that has a very West Coast persona. He belongs very much at home on a beach or with a surfboard. So I rewrote the script, making the character a West Coast character. I sent it to Owen and I was very lucky he wanted to do it. [...] I'm happy to [rewrite] if I can get an actor like Owen, who is a strong person to play something. Then I am perfectly willing to rewrite a character if I can rewrite it. Of course, there are some characters that you could never change. That would ruin the story. But very often you can adjust a character. If you have a strong personality, sometimes it requires an adjustment."
According to Stephanie Zacharek's review from Cannes, the rewritten script and Wilson's goofiness made for a genuinely heartwarming story -- the first for Allen in a few years now.