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Francis Ford Coppola Quietly Working On An "Ambitious," Epic Studio Movie & Hopes To Start Casting Soon

by Kevin Jagernauth
December 4, 2012 10:29 AM
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Francis Ford Coppola

You would you have to go back all the way to 1997's "The Rainmaker" to see Francis Ford Coppola's last fully fledged studio picture. Since then, the legendary director has been following his own muse, taking on ambitious if not always entirely successful features made outside of Hollywood, resulting in a trio of pictures: the fantasy "Youth Without Youth," the black-and-white sibling drama "Tetro" and the 3D horror "Twixt." Coppola has long talked about enjoying the freedom that comes with independence, but sometimes you need someone with big pockets to help bring certain stories to life, and it looks like the 73-year-old filmmaker is ready to deliver another big, epic picture.

Coppola recently chatted with EW to talk about the new 5-film Blu-ray box set of his work that includes "Apocalypse Now," "Apocalypse Now Redux," "The Conversation," "Tetro" and "One From The Heart" (yeah, it's a pretty odd grab-bag release). Asked what he was up to next, Coppola revealed that he's developing something quite large in scope, and apparently already has financing in place, and is eager to start looking at actors to take it on.

"I have a secret investor that has infinite money. I learned what I learned from my three smaller films, and wanted to write a bigger film. I’ve been writing it. It’s so ambitious so I decided to go to L.A. and make a film out of a studio that has all the costume rentals, and where all the actors are," he said, with EW noting he'll have an office at Paramount next year. "My story is set in New York. I have a first draft. I’m really ready for a casting phase. Movies are big in proportion to the period. It starts in the middle of the ‘20s, and there are sections in the ‘30s and the late ‘40s, and it goes until the late ‘60s."

So a period movie spanning four decades, set in New York City? Um, yes please. No word yet on a title, story or even who the mysterious person with endless cash is (maybe David Ellison of "Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol," "True Grit," and "Jack Reacher," who has a very good relationship with Paramount?) but we're pretty excited by the prospect of a rejuvenated Coppola ready to go large all over again. One can't help but think of "The Godfather" in this context, but he assures that it's no followup to that picture as he's done with sequels.

"No. I think a sequel is a waste of money and time. I think movies should illuminate new stories," he said. Intriguing... The Blu-ray set is in stores now, and hopefully more details on this movie will emerge soon.

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  • harry georgatos | February 21, 2014 3:44 PMReply

    This sounds suspiciously like an immigrant coming to the Unites States in the early '20's and we the audience experience his journey through the decades into the '60's. That story would have been great in the '70's but will find a limited audience in today's fast moving hi-tech world! Why MEGALOPOLIS wad abandoned is an act of stupidity!! Second Unit photography had began on the film and then all of a sudden it was discontinued! Madness. I've always wanted Coppola to do an adult sci-fi film involving the paradox of time-travelling within the intelligence community. I suppose at the end of the day there's always Nolans INTERSTELLAR!!

  • BradRz | December 6, 2012 1:05 AMReply

    I hope this mysterious investor with "infinite money" looks Terry Gilliam's way next.

    Tetro was really a terrific little feature. I think that if it had been the first film of a young, previously unknown director, it would have gotten a lot more attention and acclaim than it did. Like Welles post-Kane work, I hope that Coppola's later output will eventually be rediscovered/re-evaluated. Even if you don't like his post-70s work, he still deserves credit for taking big chances long after it would have been so easy for him to cash out or rest on his laurels.

  • Mr Fist | December 4, 2012 12:16 PMReply

    That figures. I'm currently watching all of Coppola's features in chronological order (I'm up to The Godfather Part III as of writing) and I get told of this.

  • cacao | January 2, 2013 10:39 PM

    Yes. The fate of everything that happens in the world revolves around what you are doing.

  • yer | December 4, 2012 11:09 AMReply

    We want 'Megalopolis' Francis! and tell your buddy Marty to finally make 'Silence'.

  • DHE | December 4, 2012 11:00 AMReply

    If only it were Megalopolis. I can dream can I?

  • serpico | December 4, 2012 10:59 AMReply

    I'm guessing that investor is George Lucas. Considering Lucas said he wants to produce projects with all the money he received after selling Star Wars.

  • RooTeeDoo | January 2, 2013 10:36 PM

    George Lucas has worked with Paramount many times, and Francis is if not solely, heavily responsible for Georges career. Considering they are very close friends, it is likely.

    And George, with his 4 billion dollar charity contribution, still has infinite money.

  • knowitall | December 5, 2012 4:20 AM

    Lucas gave all the profits to charity

  • cousinkevin | December 4, 2012 10:51 AMReply

    So, Coppola is finally making his way to the long gestating "Megalopolis". Great.

  • Kevin | December 4, 2012 10:55 AM

    "Megalopolis" is a contemporary, sci-fi film -- this doesn't sound like it.

  • ThisGuy | December 4, 2012 10:43 AMReply

    I'm hoping for the best. I greatly respected his uber-independent (in a ways) film period of late but of the three only one is worthwhile. TETRO is a very solid little work of art. Pretentious and a little unfocused at times but still very solid! YOUTH WITHOUT YOUTH though was a mess and TWIXT was godawful.

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