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Roman Coppola Discusses ‘A Glimpse Inside The Mind Of Charles Swan III’ & The Casting Of Charlie Sheen

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by Jeff Otto
June 1, 2012 11:01 AM
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Roman Coppola

It’s hard to believe it’s been more than a decade since Roman Coppola continued the family legacy with his directorial debut, “CQ.” In the years since, Coppola has focused on producing efforts such as sister Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere” and Wes Anderson’sDarjeeling Limited,” the latter of which Coppola also co-wrote. And most recently, Coppola reteamed with Anderson to co-write his latest, “Moonrise Kingdom.” The release comes on the heels of the news that Coppola has finally returned to the directors chair for “A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III,” which features a stellar ensemble cast including Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Patricia Arquette and, most intriguingly, Charlie Sheen, in the title role.

The Playlist spoke with Roman Coppola this week, and the writer/director/producer seemed in high spirits. And why shouldn’t he be? “Moonrise Kingdom” opened last week in limited release to very positive reviews, and great box office, smashing records for per-theater average. And at the moment, Coppola is deep in post-production on 'Charles Swan.'

“I can’t tell you about it,” Coppola deadpans. "I’m just kidding. It’s about a guy, who’s played by Charlie Sheen, that is a graphic designer of album covers and things like that. He’s dumped by his girlfriend and it throws his life into a tailspin. She has her claws deep into his heart and he doesn’t know whether he loves her or hates her or wants her back or never wants to see her again. It’s sort of a guy point of view of a break-up where you come to understand who this guy is by him processing this break-up. And you come to know his world, which includes Jason Schwartzman as his best friend, a stand-up comic, Bill Murray as his business manager/accountant and Patricia Arquette as his sister. If you’ve ever been through a bad break-up, all you want to do is think about it and process. That’s kind of what the project is. A character study of a guy in this state of mind with Charlie as a very dynamic and imaginative character, so there’s a lot of fantasy sequences and crazy shit.”

Coppola knew going in that the casting of Sheen was going to raise some eyebrows. But the director looked beyond recent events to past work in films like “Wall Street” and “Platoon” for proof of his acting prowess and jumped at the opportunity to bring him back to the silver screen. “He was just totally great,” Coppola tells The Playlist. “He totally came through. He’s in every scene of the movie and there’s a lot of commitment from him and he gave me everything I asked for. He gives a great performance. He’s very funny, very charming, very moving. So I’m very pleased and frankly I have a feeling of kind of pride and the gotcha feeling because a lot of people, when I told them I cast Charlie Sheen, they kind of snickered. And he’s an incredibly talented actor and a great guy who now has a chance to show what he can do as an actor. And I think that’s exciting to be the person that gets to present his. Other actors in the past, whether it’s Robert Downey Jr. or whoever, people are very unwilling to take a chance. But for me, to take a chance on talent is hardly a chance at all. It’s like a sure bet. So I feel very giddy that I’m the one that got to present him back on the big screen. It’s a crazy movie and I’m proud of it.”

No release date yet for “A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III,” but hopefully we'll get to see it soon. And we’ll have more from Coppola on re-teaming with Wes Anderson in the coming days.

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