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Coppola's Horrific TWIXT Screens for Distribs: It's About Loss

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 25, 2011 at 4:02AM

As promised at Comic-Con, Francis Ford Coppola screened his latest, the deeply personal, humorous black-and-white ghost noir TWIXT, starring Val Kilmer as a hack writer, Ben Chaplin as Edgar Allen Poe (who appears to the writer in dreams), and Elle Fanning (star of Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere) as a winsome vampire with braces. Bruce Dern (Touch of Evil) and Alden Ehrenreich (Tetro) co-star. (Trailer is below.)
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Thompson on Hollywood

As promised at Comic-Con, Francis Ford Coppola screened his latest, the deeply personal, humorous black-and-white ghost noir TWIXT, starring Val Kilmer as a hack writer, Ben Chaplin as Edgar Allen Poe (who appears to the writer in dreams), and Elle Fanning (star of Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere) as a winsome vampire with braces. Bruce Dern (Touch of Evil) and Alden Ehrenreich (Tetro) co-star. (Trailer is below.)

The veteran filmmaker, who finances his personal films from the proceeds of his "day job" running his Napa Valley winery, first showed the film to distributors in Los Angeles Wednesday night. Unless he gets a rich offer, Coppola will likely four-wall the film himself; he's looking to sell video rights.

The reaction ranged from admiring to disappointed, with a sense that the minimalist film will play older and is not horrific enough to exploit as sheer genre fare. The low-budget horror film only shows about five minutes of 3-D sequences.

“It’s an unusual film, a little wacky,” Coppola told me in San Diego, so he wanted buyers to see it in its final form. “I do it for the fun of it. Working on a film tells you something you never understood about your life.” And this one? “It’s about loss.” Coppola still mourns the painful death of his son Gian-Carlo in a boating accident in Annapolis, Maryland in 1986. He was 22.


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.