Barewords are autoquoted (BAREWORD -> 'BAREWORD'), except in two situations.
1) If a function was already declared with that name, it will be treated as a function name.
2) If a glob is expected (such as print's first argument), then it will be treated as a glob (BAREWORD -> *BAREWORD).
A bareword is only treated as a function name when a function with that name has already been declared, so AUTOLOAD won't work. Autoquoting of barewords can't be overriden by overload, so overload won't help. Looks to me like you're stuck using &I/I() or a source filter.
Note: use strict will generate an error when bareword autoquoting occurs outside of a hash index.