After decades of development and delays Francis Ford Coppola begins production of his epic film “megalopolis” this fall. It’s the ultimate passion project for the 83-year-old director. Coppola first conceived the idea for the film, about an architect’s doomed attempt to rebuild New York City as a utopia while “apocalypse now‘ in the late ’70s. Now, over four decades later, “Megalopolis” is finally in the works, with a cast led by Adam driver and a $100 million budget funded entirely by the director himself.
READ MORE: ‘Megalopolis’: Adam Driver, Nathalie Emmanuel, Forest Whitaker, Laurence Fishburne join Francis Ford Coppola’s opus
But this isn’t the first time Coppola has attempted to do “Megalopolis.” In a recent interview at the Taormina Music Festival in Sicily, the director explained that he almost shot the film in 2001 before the 9/11 tragedy made the film’s production impossible. According to a translation of the interview, Coppola said, “I was ready to do the film in 2001. Then 9/11 came and I realized that my vision of such a generous and kind future world was shattered. I couldn’t have made a film that talked about human kindness when there was terrorism. So I left it.”
But Coppola couldn’t quite let go of the project. “Years later, when I was trying to lose a few pounds, I happened to listen to the recordings of that script again, and it sparked again.” Coppola is now on the verge of re-shooting the film, with a cast who… encompasses him Laurence Fishburne, Forest Whitaker, Nathalie Emmanueland Jon Voight. Speaking of the film’s synopsis, Coppola says, “It’s a Roman epic set in New York. Epics have often inspired American cinema, and Rome was an example that also inspired US politics. My film is actually in decline, the Senate is corrupt and things aren’t going well. But then someone comes along to change things. Although it’s a story that was born twenty years ago, I think it’s very timely and realistic when I think about what’s happening.” An idealist trying to save an empire in its twilight is undoubtedly a timeless but tragic story.
Coppola sounded excited about the realization of Megalopolis, even after decades of waiting. “I always try to do things my style, but I always end up making films that I don’t know how to do,” he said. “It’s a feature of my career, just think of works like Apocalypse Now. Now, with Megalopolis, I want to do an epic Roman story about an architect who sets out to rebuild a utopian New York City after a devastating catastrophe.” And it looks like Coppola is finally getting his chance.
Here is a logline for the upcoming film: “The fate of Rome haunts a modern world incapable of solving its own social problems in this epic tale of political ambition, genius and contradictory love.”
Will ‘Megalopolis’ be a late-career masterpiece for Coppola, or a disaster that derails his legacy? Only time will tell, but it’s undoubtedly one of Hollywood’s most anticipated projects right now.