Francis Ford Coppola Responds to ‘Megalopolis’ On-Set Rumors
Photo: Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli / Getty Image
Francis Ford Coppola isn’t going to reinvent the wheel regarding his approach to directing even if it means replacing a couple of crew members. News of a rocky production might not be surprising; the documentary Hearts of Darkness highlighted the chaotic production of Apocalypse Nowduring which Coppola worried the film would be a “failure” because of its numerous issues. Now, with his latest film, Megalopolis — starring Adam Driver, Forest Whitaker, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jon Voight, Laurence Fishburne, Aubrey Plaza, Jason Schwartzman, Shia LaBeouf, Chloe Fineman, and more — Coppola may be experiencing an Apocalypse Now–like déjà vu with his passion project. Coppola himself, however, denies the reports of issues on set. “I love my cast, I love what I’m getting each day, I am on schedule and on budget, and that’s what is important to me,” he told Deadline. The film is reportedly about a woman in New York who is divided by her loyalties to her traditional father and her progressive partner.
Coppola is funding the $120 million film himself his successful wine and hotel businesssomething he’s been considering for quite some time, although this isn’t the first time he’s independently financed several of his own films, including Youth Without Youth, Tetro, and Twixt. But putting all your eggs in one basket may not be the best idea, especially with a hurricane brewing. Below is a developing story on the production of Coppola’s Megalopolis.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, several key members of the film’s creative-production team have been removed from the project. Production designer Beth Mickle and supervising art director David Scott reportedly left the production last week, leaving the film without an art department. A spokesperson for the Art Directors Guild told THR that it’s “currently looking into the situation” to “determine the next steps.” Coppola is reportedly trying to replace their positions.
As for the visual-effects team, Coppola allegedly fired most of its members in early December, including In The HeightsMark Russell. The production is reportedly shifting to more green-screen effects because of budget constraints.
Coppola himself is willing to acknowledge the turnover, as is Driver. “Yes, it is true that the art department resigned and VFX were let go,” Driver told Deadline. “Not all departments find cohesion on films and rather than suffer through and making decisions that leave a lasting impression on the film, people quit, get fired, or part ways. It’s unfortunate when it happens, but this production is not out of pocket in comparison to other productions; especially to the point that it merits an article about us descending into chaos. That characterization is inaccurate.”
But while those departments resigned, Coppola and his actors are doing extremely well. “I’ve never worked on a film where I was so happy with the cast,” the director said to Deadline. “I am so happy with the look and that we are so on schedule. These reports never say who these sources are. To them, I say, ha, ha, just wait and see. Because this is a beautiful film and primarily so because the cast is so great. I’ve never enjoyed working with a cast who are so hardworking and so willing to go searching for the unconventional, to come upon hidden solutions. It is a thrill to work with these actors and the photography is everything I could hope for. The dailies are great. So if we’re on schedule, and I love the actors and the look is great, I don’t know what anyone’s talking about here.”
If you are asking if this is a stressful film for all involved, then yes, probably. But if you’re asking whether this will be a groundbreaking hit film, only time will tell. Hopefully someone has a camera rolling behind the scenes for a Hearts of Darkness moment.
This post has been updated.
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