New York Film Locations

Revisiting Celebrity

9 September 2023

Released in 1998, Woody Allen’s comedy-drama “Celebrity” is being given a complete makeover with new screenshots and additional filming locations.

Film poster for Celebrity

The film follows Lee Simon, an unsuccessful novelist turned travel writer who immerses himself in celebrity journalism following a midlife crisis and subsequent divorce from his insecure wife, Robin, a former English teacher, after sixteen years of marriage. As he stumbles his way through both professional encounters and sexual escapades with performers, models, and other players in the world of entertainment, Lee increasingly questions his purpose in life. He ruins numerous opportunities due to his fame-seeking, insecurities and neuroses. Meanwhile, Robin trades her many neuroses for a makeover and a job with television producer Tony Gardella that leads to her own celebrity interview program. She takes advantage of numerous opportunities and ends up happy and successful.

Scene from Celebrity

Scene from Celebrity

Scene from Celebrity

The film stars a host of A-list actors to include Kenneth Branagh as Lee Simon, Judy Davis as Robin Simon, Winona Ryder as Nola, Leonardo DiCaprio as Brandon Darrow, Melanie Griffith as Nicole Oliver, Famke Janssen as Bonnie, Joe Mantegna as Tony Gardella and Charlize Theron as Supermodel. Ironically, Theron, who had been a model before becoming an actress, had publicly vowed never to play a model on-screen. Woody Allen was aware of this, and wrote her a letter specifically asking her to change her mind about that, so that she could appear in his movie.

Scene from Celebrity

Scene from Celebrity

The film was shot in black-and-white on location in New York City by cinematographer Sven Nykvist and was the last of four films shot by Nykvist for Allen. It also marked the end of Allen’s long collaboration with editor Susan E. Morse, who had edited the previous twenty of Allen’s films beginning with “Manhattan” in 1979.

Although the film was seen as entertaining, it was also heavily criticised for being too scattered. It did however, feature a vast array of sites in New York City, to include The Cherokee at 517 East 77th Street and York Avenue, El Flamingo Nightclub at 547 West 21st Street between 10th and 11th Avenues, Stanhope Hotel at 995 5th Avenue and East 81st Street, Elaine’s Restaurant at 1703 2nd Avenue and East 88th Street, and Ziegfield Theatre at 141 West 54th Street and 6th Avenue.

The updates to “Celebrity” will take place in early September 2023.


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