Since the late 1990s, when he made his undisputed masterpiece, Jack, Francis Ford Coppola has only directed three feature-length movies, and none since 2011’s Twixt (a “scary film” starring Val Kilmer that made less than $2 million at the box office). That’s a steep drop from the Oscar-winning filmmaker behind The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather Part II, and Apocalypse Now. (Also, the underrated One from the Heart.) But Coppola is ready to put down his glass of wine and make his next “epic on a grand scale” called Megalopolis.
“I plan this year to begin my longstanding ambition to make a major work utilizing all I have learned during my long career, beginning at age 16 doing theater, and that will be an epic on a grand scale, which I’ve entitled Megalopolis,” Coppola told Deadline. “It is unusual; it will be a production on a grand scale with a large cast. 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.”
The screenplay for the “sprawling” film, which Deadline describes as being “as ambitious as Apocalypse Now,” was written in the 1980s and Coppola began filming scenes in New York in mid-2001, but then “the Twin Towers tragedy took place. Suddenly I was thinking, ‘Well how do I deal with this?’ because it changed for good the idea of any story you might set in New York in contemporary time,” he explained to Coming Soon. As for that extremely-understated title: “It was a movie in a nutshell about a utopia. The idea that maybe the human species is so talented and so ingenious that we could at this point build life in the world that would be so exciting and great for everybody.” Casting is currently underway, with Jude Law targeted for the lead role.
Meanwhile, the world continues to wait for Jack on Criterion.