New York, I Love You: Film Anthology

A high-profile group of actors and directors made the film anthology, “New York, I Love You.”

Orlando Bloom, Olivia Thirlby, Hayden Christensen and Ethan Hawke are among those who have boarded the omnibus picture, which blends romance, pride and patriotism. The anthology of shorts follows the format of “Paris, je t’aime,” a surprise specialty hit released last year.

A few names had been rumored since the project was first announced last spring–Woody Allen has nothing to do with it, contrary to reports. The production is now midway through a planned 10-week shoot. Blogs started to teem with photos, when Scarlett Johansson started lining up shots.

Johansson, like Natalie Portman, is making her helming debut on the project. Portman also stars in a separate short.

The directors include Mira Nair, Brett Ratner and Alan Hughes, plus international helmers such as Fatih Akin, Andrey Zvyagintsev and Wen Jiang. The producers include Marina Grasic, exec producer of “Crash”; Marianne Maddalena, of the “Scream” franchise; and Jan Korbelin, exec producer of Lionsgate’s “The Lucky Ones.”

“Paris je t’aime” grossed $5 million at the domestic box-office, quite a feat for a French-language title. First Look distributed in the U.S.

“Paris je t’aime” kicked off producer Emmanuel Benhiby’s planned global series that could see numerous locales get the “I love you” treatment, such as Shanghai and Africa.

“With films like ‘Crash’ and ‘Babel,’ the approach to narrative has changed,” producer Grasic said. “People are getting more sophisticated about watching content in shorter forms.”

“New York” stands out amid the current tide of pics such as “Sex and the City” and “Enchanted” that have spotlighted Gotham locations. NYC & Co., the official marketing and tourism organization for the City of New York, is fully behind the movie, with all kinds of sponsorship deals.

A major airline is in final talks to help ferry talent to and from the city and promote the film on its aircraft, for example. Such co-branding deals go well beyond the typical offer of a few bus shelter ads and minor marketing considerations.

New York will be a character, as it has been in films since the silent era, with a special nod to the diversity of 21st century Gotham. “There are a lot of culture clashes and love stories involving people of different races,” noted Grasic.

Other confirmed actors include Carlos Acosta, Kevin Bacon, Justin Bartha, Rachel Bilson, James Caan, Bradley Cooper, Chris Cooper, Drea de Matteo, Irrfan Khan, Cloris Leachman, Blake Lively, Emilie Ohana, Maggie Q, Shu Qi, Eli Wallach, Saul Williams, Robin Wright-Penn, Anton Yelchin and Ugur Yucel.