The mythical sci-fi epic Megalopolis has been percolating for decades under the watch of Francis Ford Coppola. The film, he admits, could end up costing $100 million to $120 million to create, but he’s willing to put his $100 million where his mouth is. His disdain for the current movie trends coupled with his passion to get the movie of his dreams made has lit the fuse for the 82-years-young director to pool his funds and begin shooting in 2022.
Francis Ford Coppola explains, “I think the big news here is that I am still the same as I was 20 years ago or 40 years ago. I’m still willing to do the dream picture, even if I have to put up my own money, and I am capable of putting up $100 million if I have to here. I don’t want to, but I will do it if I have to.”
“I’m committed to making this movie, I’d like to make it in the fall of 2022,” Coppola revealed. “I don’t have all my cast approved, but I have enough of them to have confidence that it is going to be a very exciting cast. The picture’s going to cost between $100 million and $120 million. Needless to say, I hope it’s closer to $100 million. I’m prepared to match some outside financing, almost dollar for dollar. In other words, I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is. What’s interesting about that is, there was a documentary about my dream studio, when I owned Zoetrope Studios and I was unafraid to risk everything I had in order to make my dream come true. Well, I really haven’t changed my personality, at all.”
Coppola has not been bashful about his take on the current superhero movie trend. “When Martin Scorsese says that the Marvel pictures are not cinema, he’s right because we expect to learn something from cinema, we expect to gain something, some enlightenment, some knowledge, some inspiration. I don’t know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again. Martin was kind when he said it’s not cinema. He didn’t say it’s despicable, which I just say it is.”
He makes his point speaking of his iconic films, saying “You know that I own the negative of Apocalypse Now, and do you know why I own it? Because nobody wanted it,” he said. “And Apocalypse Now these years earns almost as much as we get from The Godfather. Pictures like this [are difficult]; everyone wants to make the next Marvel movie, but no one wants to make a picture that really talks to young people in a hopeful way, that we are in a position to get together and solve any problem thrown at us. That is what I believe, and it is what the theme of the picture really is. Utopia is talking about how we can make the society we live in solve these problems. I believe it is an exciting change from the kinds of movies being offered to the public.”
“Mainly because it puts forward a fundamental message that it’s time for us to consider that the society we live in isn’t the only alternative available to us. And that utopia isn’t so much a little experimental place in the country; utopia is a discussion of people, asking the right questions on if the society we’re living in is the only alternative or, if for the sake of young people, there are better choices that should be discussed. That is the influence I dream of this movie having. And for that reason I am willing and capable of investing at a high number, to make it come true. I’m putting together the means of doing that.”
He describes Megalopolis, saying “The concept of the film is a Roman epic, in the traditional Cecile B. DeMille or Ben-Hur way, but told as a modern counterpart focusing on America,” he said. “It’s based on ‘The Catiline Conspiracy,’ which comes to us from ancient Rome. This was a famous duel between a patrician, Catiline, and that part will be played by Oscar Isaac, and the famous Cicero, who will be Forest Whitaker. He is now the beleaguered mayor of New York, during a financial crisis, close to the one that Mayor Dinkins had. This story takes place in a new Rome, a Roman epic sent in modern times. The time set is not a specific year in modern New York, it’s an impression of modern New York, which I call New Rome.”
Coppola has been pooling resources saying, “It has been in the news I just sold one of my wineries to another company. So I’m in a position where I don’t have the money but I can borrow it. So basically I am the same position as I was in that Dream Studio period, where I want to see the dream come true and I am not afraid to risk my own money to make it happen.” Currently Oscar Isaac, Forest Whitaker, Cate Blanchett, Jon Voight, Zendaya, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange along with James Caan are in talks for casting. We’ll keep you posted. This news comes from Deadline.
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