Francis Ford Coppola is a name we all resonate with in some way. Whether it is through the cinema, wine, or generational success that lies with his offspring, we all connect with the household name. Many of "the greatest movies ever made" have his name attached to them, making each of his projects an exciting venture that could be celebrated long after everyone who worked on the project is gone. 

The 50th anniversary of The Godfather’s release gives us a chance to look at Coppola's career and at his most ambitious desire to create a film he has been wanting to make for over 40 years—MegalopolisCould the great American filmmaker still make a hit movie in the era of the blockbuster

But what studio would fund such a grand, ambitious, and impossible-to-summarize project in the age of Marvel?

In a recent interview, GQ asked Coppola how executives react when he describes Megalopolis to them, and he responded, “Same way they did when I had won five Oscars and was the hottest film director in town and walked in with Apocalypse Now and said, ‘I’d like to make this next.'” 

Coppola believes that Megalopolis is his final dream, the ultimate think-piece that will continue his legacy for years as people try to understand what he was trying to say in the film.

Francis_ford_coppola_on_filmmaking_0Francis Ford Coppola on modern HollywoodCredit: Bettmann/Getty Images

Coppola said, “Do you know why I own Apocalypse Now? Because no one else wanted it.”

Coppola has always been aware of Hollywood’s intentions when it comes to film. When he came to LA for film school, he immediately felt disappointment with Hollywood.

Still, he found a way to make movies: nudie pictures, films for producer and talent-spotter Roger Corman, and two studio projects You’re a Big Boy Now, his UCLA thesis project, and the Broadway adaptation Finian’s Rainbow.

Although his love for cinema is undying, he can’t recognize or enjoy the modern movie industry.

He told GQ:

“There used to be studio films. Now there are Marvel pictures. And what is a Marvel picture? A Marvel picture is one prototype movie that is made over and over and over and over and over again to look different. Even the talented people—you could take Dune, made by Denis Villeneuve, an extremely talented, gifted artist, and you could take No Time to Die, directed by [Cary] Fukunaga [...] extremely gifted, talented, beautiful artists, and you could take both those movies, and you and I could go and pull the same sequence out of both of them and put them together. The same sequence where the cars all crash into each other. They all have that stuff in it, and they almost have to have it, if they’re going to justify their budget. And that’s the good films, and the talented filmmakers.”

Unlike most of the directors who yell at the sky about this disdain towards superhero movies, Coppola has actively been trying to change the state of Hollywood since the start of his career. After he successfully financed Apocalypse Now himself and the film proved to be a hit, Coppola decided to create his own studio, Zoetrope. The first film he made for Zoetrope Studios, One From the Heart, was a commercial bomb that caused Coppola to lose over $25 million and his studio.

What is Connotation in Literature and Film? (Definition and Examples)'Apocalypse Now'Credit: United Artists

Megalopolis is Coppola’s next chef-d'œu·vre, his dream that could break him again financially as he decided to sell a significant piece of his wine empire last year to fund the project. Is he crazy to do this project in a moment when cinema is overwhelmed by the blockbuster? The cinephile in me believes that he is saner than ever, creating what he wants, the way he wants it.

Could Megalopolis succeed? That's another question that makes us wonder how anyone could create their passion project with a studio backing them if they are not catering to Hollywood’s blockbuster standards. One thing is obvious: Coppola will find a way to make what he wants to make. 

We are artists creating works that represent our souls. Hollywood can manipulate your soul to create what could work in Hollywood but isn’t sustainable. Personal films will last forever, allowing young filmmakers to watch what they’ve created, and become inspired to do the same. It’s a cycle of inspiration that takes major financial risk. If you are willing to take that risk, then do it. 

Let us know in the comments what you think of Coppola’s take on the current state of Hollywood! 

Source: GQ