It has been ten years since Oscar-winner Francis Ford Coppola’s last directorial project with 2011’s horror film Twixt, and the legendary director is determined to make his comeback by actively pushing the production of his dream movie project titled Megalopolis, which has been in development for several decades now.
According to Deadline, the acclaimed filmmaker is currently assembling quite an all-star cast as he enters negotiations with a number of actors including Oscar Isaac, Forest Whitaker, Cate Blanchett, Jon Voight, Zendaya, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange, and The Godfather alum James Caan.
Coppola also confirmed that he would like to start filming the project in the fall of 2022 and will do everything it takes for the film to finally move forward. This includes his willingness to take the risk of spending his own money so that his dream project could achieve its target budget of over $100 million.
“I’m committed to making this movie, I’d like to make it in the fall of 2022,” Coppola revealed. “I don’t have all my cast approved, but I have enough of them to have confidence that it is going to be a very exciting cast. The picture’s going to cost between $100 million and $120 million. Needless to say, I hope it’s closer to $100 million. I’m prepared to match some outside financing, almost dollar for dollar. In other words, I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is. What’s interesting about that is, there was a documentary about my dream studio, when I owned Zoetrope Studios and I was unafraid to risk everything I had in order to make my dream come true. Well, I really haven’t changed my personality, at all.”
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Megapolis has been Coppola’s passion project since the 1980s. Set in modern-day America, it reportedly centers around the aftermath of a devastating disaster, where an architect wants to rebuild New York City as a utopia. The 82-year-old filmmaker has confirmed that the story will get to explore timely themes, while also featuring Roman epic influences.
“The concept of the film is a Roman epic, in the traditional Cecile B. DeMille or Ben-Hur way, but told as a modern counterpart focusing on America,” He explained. “It’s based on The Catiline Conspiracy, which comes to us from ancient Rome. This was a famous duel between a patrician, Catiline, and that part will be played by Oscar Isaac, and the famous Cicero, who will be Forest Whitaker. He is now the beleaguered mayor of New York, during a financial crisis, close to the one that Mayor Dinkins had. This story takes place in a new Rome, a Roman epic sent in modern times. The time set is not a specific year in modern New York, it’s an impression of modern New York, which I call New Rome.”
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There have been many times in past that Coppola tried to start the production on the project. However, due to certain unchangeable setbacks including directorial obligations to The Godfather trilogy and the 9/11 attacks, making Megalopolis a reality has indeed become a difficult task for the filmmaker. Despite this, his determination hasn’t wavered through the years, and he is still confident that he’ll be able to finally make his dream project.
“I have some private financiers who want to come in on a partner basis, and I’m willing to match their funds, if I have to,” Coppola said. “Obviously the more money I have to put up, the more complications it gives me, but I am capable of doing it. I am capable of going the whole distance if I really had to. It would be hard for me or anyone to put up $100 million to make a utopian dream of a film, but it is not impossible for that to happen. It has been in the news I just sold one of my wineries to another company. So I’m in a position where I don’t have the money but I can borrow it. So basically I am in the same position as I was in that Dream Studio period, where I want to see the dream come true and I am not afraid to risk my own money to make it happen.”