Francis Ford Coppola Addresses Rumors of ‘Chaos’ on ‘Megalopolis’ Set: ‘The Source Was No Source’
Francis Ford Coppola is assuring audiences that “Megalopolis” was mega-fun to film, despite rumors of “chaos” on set.
The Oscar winner revealed in an interview with Deadline alongside Kevin Costner that he can understand the parallel between rumors surrounding the notorious production of “Apocalypse Now” and now, almost a half-century later, “Megalopolis.” The epic film, which Coppola has described as a futuristic “love story,” has a staggering reported $120 million-plus price tag that Coppola financed himself.
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Production wrapped in March 2023 amid reports of creative unrest on the project, which stars Adam Driver, Shia LaBeouf, Forest Whitaker, Aubrey Plaza, Giancarlo Esposito, Laurence Fishburne, Jon Voight, Jason Schwartzman, and Dustin Hoffman.
“Well, ‘Apocalypse Now’ was out there being edited for months and months and months. And because it had been made in the Philippines, it was sort of mysterious,” Coppola said. “[With ‘Megalopolis’] it was much the same thing. A rumor starts out; there was a report about chaos. But the source was no source.”
Coppola continued, “From my point of view, I was on schedule, which, on a big, difficult movie, is hard to do. I love my actors, and there is not one of them I would change. The movie has a style that went beyond my expectations. That’s sincerely how I feel. The most important thing is the life the film might have when eventually it cuts together and blossoms.”
He added, “On ‘Godfather II,’ that happened three weeks before a devastating preview. And ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’ had a terrible preview, then two weeks later, it came together. Movies can change their chemistry…But I am grateful to be in the position to be able to make a film that haunts me and that I feel will be wonderful, that will shed light on the subject of what the future might be like and what human beings are really like. I am as happy as I could be.”
A report in January 2023 confirmed that visual effects production supervisor Mark Russell, production designer Beth Mickle, and supervising art director David Scott had left “Megalopolis,” with the VFX team parting ways in December 2022. A source told IndieWire that creative differences between Coppola and select crew members led to their respective departures.
The film is about an architect who tries to rebuild New York as a utopia following an apocalyptic disaster.
The creative team switch-up prompted a statement from the Art Directors Guild that it would be looking into the situation to “ensure proper staffing and scheduling.” New production designer Bradley Rubin of “The Mandalorian” and “A Star Is Born” fame was later brought on board.
“Megalopolis” actor Adam Driver previously praised Coppola for being a “courageous” filmmaker who was “pushing” the film to be “as inventive as it could be.”
“‘Megalopolis’ is one of the most exciting things that I’ve ever been a part of, with Francis [Ford Coppola] in particular,” Driver said. “It’s one of the best shooting experiences I’ve had. And the things that he’s made, there’s no frame of reference for it. It’s so unique and inventive and hopefully accessible by everyone. That it’s not so elusive that it’s for a certain audience, it’s for everyone. And he is everything that you hope he will be.”
The “Marriage Story” actor formerly told IndieWire in a statement that while there were on-set departures from members of the creative team, production went smoothly despite conflicting reports.
“All good here! Not sure what set you’re talking about! I don’t recognize that one! I’ve been on sets that were chaotic and this one is far from it,” Driver said. “The environment that’s being created by Francis, is one of focus and inspiration. As of now, we’re on schedule, making our days, and honestly, it’s been one of the best shooting experiences I’ve had. Our crew is fast and inventive, our costume department is on point, the actors are incredible and willing, and Francis is one of the most insightful and caring people to work with. I’m very proud to be making this movie with him, and them, and though I haven’t interviewed everyone, I can confidently say that that’s the general attitude on set.”
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