Francis Ford Coppola Was Supposedly Problematic and Inappropriate During the Filming of ‘Megalopolis,’ Reports Claim

Francis Ford Coppola Was Supposedly Problematic and Inappropriate During the Filming of 'Megalopolis,' Reports Claim

If you haven’t read any of our previous reports, you probably won’t know that Francis Ford Coppola’s upcoming film Megalopolis is an interesting story altogether, as the movie was conceived way back in 1979, while Coppola was filming Apocalypse Now, one of the greatest war movies ever made. Now, 45 years later, the movie is finally complete and is waiting for an official release. As of the time of writing, the famed director is trying to sell his sci-fi epic to buyers so that it can be ready for a theatrical release this year and, most likely, the awards season. So far, the director has not been able to find a major buyer, but the marketing campaign is great, despite the fact that it seems that the director is paying for it out of his own pocket, as all the official information we have comes from the director himself or his personal social media profiles.

And while we’re quite sure that someone will grab the movie and that we are going to see it in theaters later this year, it seems that the filming process was as turbulent as the marketing campaign, as The Guardian reports that Coppola’s behavior during the filming of the movie was quite problematic.

We’ve said that there was a connection between Megalopolis and Apocalypse Now, and it seems that there is more that connects the two movies than meets the eye. Namely, we know that Coppola came up with the idea for the former while filming the latter and that the same ideas and concerns influenced both movies. On the other hand, we also know that the filming of Apocalypse Now was a chaotic and life-threatening experience; whereas Coppola did produce a great movie, the filming process was horrendous, and based on these reports, it seems that the filming of Megalopolis was also quite troublesome.

The Guardian reports how most of the main cast members commented positively on the filming experience, but how a lot of the crew members experienced many problems, especially with Coppola. The filmmaker had no clear vision of the world of his movie, and he reportedly said to one member of the crew who worked on the designs: “How can you figure out what Megalopolis looks like when I don’t even know what Megalopolis looks like?”

There were also a lot of delays due to Coppola’s behavior, which – based on this testimony – seemed completely incomprehensible:

He would often show up in the mornings before these big sequences and because no plan had been put in place, and because he wouldn’t allow his collaborators to put a plan in place, he would often just sit in his trailer for hours on end, wouldn’t talk to anybody, was often smoking marijuana … And hours and hours would go by without anything being filmed. And the crew and the cast would all stand around and wait. And then he’d come out and whip up something that didn’t make sense, and that didn’t follow anything anybody had spoken about or anything that was on the page, and we’d all just go along with it, trying to make the best out of it. But pretty much every day, we’d just walk away shaking our heads wondering what we’d just spent the last 12 hours doing.” As a third crew member puts it: “This sounds crazy to say, but there were times when we were all standing around going: ‘Has this guy ever made a movie before?’

Source: The Guardian

The same thing happened early on during filming when a lot of time was wasted to produce some effect using mirrors and projectors, while they could’ve been made in a matter of minutes using digital technology; the scene involved Adam Driver’s character fusing with some futuristic material. Here is what another crew member said:

That’s great, except nobody can move. So they basically strapped Adam Driver into a chair for six hours, and they literally took a $100 projector and projected an image on the side of his head. I’m all for experimentation, but this is really what you want to do the first day with your $10m actor? So he [Coppola] spends literally half of a day on what could have been done in 10 minutes.

Source: The Guardian

The irony of this moment became even bigger when most members of the visual and arts team either quit or were fired by December 2022, which was only half-way through the shoot. Coppola didn’t seem to care much, and while he had been saying – mockingly – that he was not shooting a Marvel movie, he ironically had to resort to using the green screen to finish the movie. So there’s that.

Also, some reports claim that his behavior towards women was very “old school,” as the article claims, as he would pull women to sit in his lap and he allegedly tried to kiss some topless extras during a one bacchanalian nightclub scene, claiming that he was “trying to get them in the mood,” which sounds horrible.

On the other hand, while these reports are certainly alarming, executive co-producer Darren Demetre came out in defense of the filmmaker:

I have known and worked with Francis and his family for over 35 years. As one of the first assistant directors and an executive producer on his new epic, Megalopolis, I helped oversee and advise the production and ran the second unit. Francis successfully produced and directed an enormous independent film, making all the difficult decisions to ensure it was delivered on time and on budget, while remaining true to his creative vision. There were two days when we shot a celebratory Studio 54-esque club scene where Francis walked around the set to establish the spirit of the scene by giving kind hugs and kisses on the cheek to the cast and background players. It was his way to help inspire and establish the club atmosphere, which was so important to the film. I was never aware of any complaints of harassment or ill behaviour during the course of the project.

Source: The Guardian

The fact remains that the allegations are there and that we will certainly have to follow up on this story to see if anything happens. Megalopolis was a dream project of Coppola’s and it seems that a lot of the things were tolerated out of pity, as it seemed to the crew members that this was Coppola’s final film:

We were all aware that we were participating in what might be a really sad finish to his career. (…) he was just so unpleasant toward a lot of the people who were trying to help facilitate the process and help make the movie better.”

Source: The Guardian

Be that as it may, the story of Megalopolis is certainly evolving and we are definitely going to have more news and updates for you in the upcoming weeks and months, so be sure to keep following us!

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