Francis Ford Coppola Twixt

Francis Ford Coppola, one of the titans of Hollywood cinema, is doing everything he can to get his long-delayed passion project Megalopolis up and running. The director, who previously wasn’t signed with any particular agency, has now officially joined the client list of one of the industry’s largest agencies, CAA, in the hopes that they can help him secure financing for what sounds like a mega-expensive futuristic movie. Read on to learn what we know about it so far.

Deadline brings word (via The Playlist) that CAA has signed Coppola to the agency’s ranks, and that they’re going to help him finally get Megalopolis off the ground after nearly twenty years. Coppola’s super-sized 212-page script follows an architect who tries to build a mini-Utopia within a futuristic New York City. An old Variety article from 2001 sheds some more specifics on the plot and the movie’s two major characters:

The mayor is dedicated to preserving the heritage of the past, while an
architect-planner is dedicated to leaping into the future. When a massive renovation project is planned for an area running from 8th Avenue to the Hudson riverbank and from 34th to 20th streets, it becomes the nexus of a battle over vision, scale and profits, involving “every layer of society from workers, labor unions, the man on the street to the idea men, the money men and all those involved with them,” Coppola said.

That was written back in 2001, which was the last time Coppola was considering trying to get this film made. He shot dozens of hours of second-unit footage for it on the streets of New York City, and then the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened, and the project was ultimately put on hold because the script “centers on the rebuilding of New York after a disastrous incident” – something that struck a little too close to home nearly twenty years ago.

Coppola has previously talked about how he envisions this Cecil B. DeMille-style movie as “an epic on a grand scale” with a “large cast,” which may include actors like Jude Law and Shia LaBeouf. He also says it will utilize everything he’s learned as a filmmaker so far: “It makes use of all of my years of trying films in different styles and types culminating in what I think is my own voice and aspiration. It is not within the mainstream of what is produced now, but I am intending and wishing and in fact encouraged, to begin production this year.”

Coppola, who perhaps most famously mounted a massive production before with his war epic Apocalypse Now, has spent the past few years making smaller, more intimate movies, but despite his statement that Megalopolis won’t fit the current mainstream mold, this sounds like a return to the type of visionary storytelling for which he’s best known. I imagine an A-list cast will be assembled over the next few months, so stay tuned for more announcements.

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