Francis Ford Coppola Fears His $100m Opus Megalopolis May Never Reach Theaters

Renowned Hollywood director Francis Ford Coppola (right) of ‘The Godfather’ fame.His ‘Megalopolis’ debuts at Cannes. But Hollywood bigwigs refuse to take a chance on filmmaking’s patron saint. (Image insert by

By Sam Wasson at Air Mail: I haven’t seen Megalopolis, the new, four-decades-in-the-making film by Francis Ford Coppola, but I don’t have to know whether it’s good, bad, or, like most brave new works, somewhere in between, to be embarrassed for Hollywood.

Because even though Coppola spent more than $100 million of his own money to make the movie, money he raised by selling a major stake in his winery, and even though the movie stars Adam Driver, Nathalie Emmanuel, Dustin Hoffman, Aubrey Plaza, Shia LaBeouf, Laurence Fishburne, Jon Voight, Jason Schwartzman, Giancarlo Esposito, and Talia Shire, it has yet to find a domestic distributor.

Coppola himself, meanwhile, is characteristically candid and understandably frustrated. “You’d think, Why would anyone want not to root for Megalopolis? An accepted filmmaker using their own money to fund an ambitious movie. Well, there are plenty of interests who would,” he says.

If such a movie were to succeed, the studios would be “in an embarrassing and perhaps dangerous situation,” Coppola says, “because then other directors will say, ‘Look, he didn’t follow your rules and was successful, so why can’t I?’ No, better if they can say, ‘Look what Coppola did: successful, and yet going off and doing what he wanted, and he failed!’”

The entertainment press has printed a series of unattributed complaints about Coppola’s unconventional filmmaking style and mercurial behavior; one article included an allegation, also made anonymously, that he kissed some of the extras. (A co-producer has said Coppola kissed them on the cheek.)

In Coppola’s view, the film’s naysayers cheat. “If you look at each and every mixed or negative notice,” he says, “it’s always something heard from an unknown source. I really feel it’s unpardonable to attack a movie because it doesn’t play by Hollywood’s current rules, by quoting unnamed sources who probably weren’t at the screening and may not exist.”

I am not naïve. It is easy enough to understand why distributors aren’t touching this parable about clashing visions for the future of humanity; they don’t think it will make the money it will cost to sell it to the public. That is and must be their prerogative as executives. But Coppola is not just another filmmaker. He is our father. Who are we if we don’t honor him? Don’t kid yourself about D.E.I. initiatives. If we pay no respect to our giants, what, if anything, does Hollywood stand for?

More here.