Actress onboard for her third Allen film

Woody Allen has set Scarlett Johansson to star in the untitled film he’ll shoot this summer in Spain. That is her third starring role in his past four films, making Johansson the actress Allen has used most frequently since his early runs with Mia Farrow and Diane Keaton.

Johansson and Rebecca Hall (“The Prestige”) join Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz in the film, which will shoot for six weeks in Barcelona and one week in Asturias. Allen will trek to Spain in June for pre-production and then will return to begin production after the July 4 holiday.

Spain-based producer Mediapro is financing half of the film, and Letty Aronson, Steve Tenenbaum and Gareth Wiley are producing.

It is the first film that Allen has shot in Spain, but this will be the fourth consecutive production outside the U.S. for a director once identified as the quintessential New York filmmaker. Allen made his previous three films in London, and he began going there partly to preserve the auteur manner in which he has always made his films.

For almost his entire career, Allen has been accustomed to presenting a studio with a budget. The studio financed his film without reading a script, and Allen held complete creative control. When grosses dwindled in the U.S., that arrangement was harder to come by at Hollywoodstudios, which rarely give those conditions to any directors.

Allen replicated those provisions in England, where he filmed “Match Point,” “Scoop” and the upcoming “Cassandra’s Dream.” He has come to enjoy framing his movies there, and is expected to return there to make his next project, which he’ll likely shoot in 2008.

The director found he was just as welcome in Spain. Mediapro, the Barcelona-based production and sports rights company, committed last December to fund Allen’s film. Execs didn’t need to see a script. They only wanted assurances that Allen would shoot the film in Spain.

Allen and his films are held in high regard there, as evidenced by the grosses on “Match Point,” which tallied E7.6 million ($10 million). Sources said Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 TV is also taking an equity stake in the film, and it is expected that Allen will benefit from various government subsidies.

Mediapro also gets distribution rights to Spain.

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