Coppola Epic 40 Years in the Making Will Debut at Cannes

Renowned director self-funded 'Megalopolis'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2024 1:38 PM CDT
Self-Funded Coppola Epic Will Debut at Cannes
Francis Ford Coppola speaks at the 2024 Captain Planet Foundation Gala in Atlanta next month,   (Todd Kirkland/AP Images for The Captain Planet Foundation)

A movie that has been in development for almost half of Francis Ford Coppola's life will make its debut at the Cannes Film Festival on May 17. Coppola, who turned 85 on Sunday, wrote the first version of the screenplay for Megalopolis in 1983, the Guardian reports. Production wrapped last year after a troubled process that some likened to Coppola's Apocalypse Now, which made its debut at Cannes in 1979. Coppola self-funded the $120 million film, with much of the money coming from "the sale of a significant portion of his wine empire," according to the Hollywood Reporter.

  • The movie. Coppola has called the plot an "indescribable enigma," reports Variety. It reportedly involves the rebuilding of an alternate reality version of New York City, with heavy Roman influences (down to some characters' Caesar-like haircuts). "The fate of Rome haunts a modern world unable to solve its own social problems in this epic story of political ambition, genius and conflicted love," according to the movie's official logline.

  • The cast. Megalopolis stars Adam Driver and Giancarlo Esposito as two men with competing visions of how to rebuild the city. Other cast members include Jon Voight, Laurence Fishburne, Aubrey Plaza, Shia LaBeouf, Chloe Fineman, Kathryn Hunter, and Dustin Hoffman, per the AP.
  • Distribution issues. After a March 28 screening for an audience that included many Hollywood execs, sources told the Hollywood Reporter that Coppola might struggle to find a distribution partner, especially since he envisions a global marketing budget of up to $100 million. Insiders called it too niche and experimental. "There is just no way to position this movie," one distributor reportedly said.
  • "Crackling with ideas." Mike Fleming Jr. at Deadline was at the March 28 screening and describes Megalopolis as "an epic and highly visual fable" that is "crackling with ideas that fuse the past with the future." Coppola, he writes, "delivers a big kiss to the possibilities of mankind's ingenuity to adapt to and overcome most problems. He also injects a cautionary tale of what can happen when that rise-to-the-occasion human spirit is challenged by the greed, corruption, and narcissism that helped topple the Roman Empire."
(More Francis Ford Coppola stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.