Kisses with topless extras, Marijuana, “infuriating” attitude… behind the scenes of the filming of Coppola’s “Megalopolis”

Kisses with topless extras, Marijuana, “infuriating” attitude… behind the scenes of the filming of Coppola’s “Megalopolis”
Kisses with topless extras, Marijuana, “infuriating” attitude… behind the scenes of the filming of Coppola’s “Megalopolis”

On the eve of the screening of his latest feature film, Megalopolis, at the Cannes Film Festival, director Francis Ford Coppola and his methods deemed “inappropriate” are the subject of an investigation published in the British daily The Guardian on May 14 .

It is one of the most anticipated films of the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, in competition for the Palme d’Or: “Megalopolis”, directed by Francis Ford Coppola will be presented this Thursday, May 16.

But on the eve of this anticipated screening, it is not so much the trailer for the science fiction film that is getting people talking, more than an investigation published Wednesday May 14 by the British newspaper The Guardian. This returns to the genesis of the film, and evokes the methods sometimes “inappropriate” and behavior “displaced” of the 85-year-old director on set.

A chaotic and tense shoot

If Adam Driver, starring in the feature film alongside Shia LaBoeuf, Zendaya and Aubrey Plaza, as well as some of the members of the team spoke in positive terms about their experience on the film, others sources cited by our colleagues describe a filming “tense and chaotic”, “almost as difficult as the one in Apocalypse Now”on which lead actor Marin Sheen had a heart attack in 1979.

A lot of time and effort would have been wasted, crucial team members would have resigned mid-term, and Coppola would have made things even more complicated by embarking on a real estate redevelopment project, the renovation, at the same time. of a motel acquired to accommodate his family in Atlanta, on the filming location. As one team member reports, “It was like watching a train disaster unfold day after day, week after week, and knowing that everyone had done their best to avoid the catastrophe.”

However, as our colleagues point out, the 85-year-old director devoted half his life to the making of this film, in which he invested a colossal budget of 120 million dollars from his own pocket, requiring the resale of a part of his winery in Napa Valley, California.

An “old school”, even “exasperating” attitude

In addition to the technical challenges encountered on the set and the death of his wife Eleanor Coppola due to illness, the attitude of Francis Ford Coppola would have been criticized for his “old school”And “infuriating”leaving little room for members of the film crew to express themselves. “He wouldn’t allow his colleagues to put a plan in place, he would often sit in his trailer for hours, not talk to anyone, often smoke marijuana… And hours and hours would pass without anything happening. be filmed”testifies one of the team members. “It might sound crazy, but there were times when we were there wondering if this guy had ever made a movie before,” added another.

Finally, other sources cited by the Guardianalso felt that Coppola could also be “old game” in his behavior towards women. For example, he allegedly encouraged women to sit on his knees. During a nightclub scene filmed for the film, he allegedly came onto the set and tried to kiss some topless and scantily clad female extras, claiming that he “was trying to get them in the mood”.

In response to comments about the director’s behavior on set, co-executive producer Darren Demetre said: “Francis walked around the set establishing the spirit of the scene by giving hugs and kisses on the cheek to the actors […]. It was his way of inspiring and establishing the atmosphere of the club, which was so important to the film. I was never aware of any complaints of harassment or bad behavior during the project.”.

Towards a third Palme despite everything?

If the first reactions to Megalopolis seem mixed, with some announcing a “sad” end of career for the American director, other laudatory comments praise “a brilliant and visionary masterpiece”.

Nothing new for the director, who has often had the reputation of being “ahead of its time”, and was initially misunderstood before his talent was recognized. As was the case for his film Apocalypse Now, which despite the filming fiasco and dire predictions upon its release, won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1979, before being considered a decade later as a classic of movie theater.

After being awarded two Palmes d’Or for Secret Conversation, in 1974 and Apocalypse Now, in 1979, is Coppola on the verge of winning the prestigious Cannes award for the third time? Answer soon. It remains to be seen whether in the midst of the #Metoo of cinema, the behavior of Francis Ford Coppola will be discussed on the Croisette.

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