Looks like legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola is done doing special cuts of his greatest hits and is ready to get behind the camera for a new film! Well, for a film he's teased for a couple years titled Megalopolis, but one that Coppola has spoken about as his passion project. One that he had already revealed several fascinating pieces of concept art for in the past:
The IMDB entry for the film has a simple synopsis that involves an architect wanting to rebuild New York City as a utopia following a devastating disaster. Coppola wrote the script in the early 1980's but the film always took a backseat to his other projects. When he first attempted to make the film in 2001, the September 11th terrorist attacks happened with the story thus having too many parallels to those events. In a new interview with Deadline, he gave several updates on the project, including his willingness to put up part or all of the budget personally to get it made with an anticipated production start date that he has in mind:
“I’m committed to making this movie, I’d like to make it in the fall of 2022. I don’t have all my cast approved, but I have enough of them to have confidence that it is going to be a very exciting cast. The picture’s going to cost between $100 million and $120 million. Needless to say, I hope it’s closer to $100 million. I’m prepared to match some outside financing, almost dollar for dollar. In other words, I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is. What’s interesting about that is, there was a documentary about my dream studio, when I owned Zoetrope Studios and I was unafraid to risk everything I had in order to make my dream come true. Well, I really haven’t changed my personality, at all.”
Why such a large budget? Because the film is a huge drama that tells a contemporary story (set in America), but in the vein of a Roman epic:
The concept of the film is a Roman epic, in the traditional Cecile B. DeMille or Ben-Hur way, but told as a modern counterpart focusing on America. It’s based on The Catiline Conspiracy, which comes to us from ancient Rome. This was a famous duel between a patrician, Catiline, and that part will be played by Oscar Isaac, and the famous Cicero, who will be Forest Whitaker. He is now the beleaguered mayor of New York, during a financial crisis, close to the one that Mayor Dinkins had. This story takes place in a new Rome, a Roman epic set in modern times. The time set is not a specific year in modern New York, it’s an impression of modern New York, which I call New Rome.
As you noticed, Coppola mentioned a couple actors and that's because he's already in talks with an array of big names, both old and new, to fill the massive ensemble. Besides Isaac and Whittaker, reports are coming in that the filmmaker has begun talks with his former Godfather star James Caan to join the cast along with Cate Blanchett, Jon Voight, Zendaya, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Jessica Lange.
While we won't see the film for a few more years, it'll be fascinating to see a master of the craft, part of the New Hollywood era of filmmakers that changed filmmaking in it's entirety in the 1970's, return after so many years. Hopefully, he'll deliver a new classic for cinephiles to drool over for years to come! Stay tuned!