After a a stream of indie films, experiments that had a middling reception from critics and audiences alike, Francis Ford Coppola is ready to return to the monied world of studio filmmaking. And he said as much in 2012. “I learned what I learned from my three smaller films, and wanted to write a bigger film. I’ve been writing it. It’s so ambitious so I decided to go to L.A. and make a film out of a studio that has all the costume rentals, and where all the actors are,” he said at the time. And he’s still working on it.
Dropping by the Produced By Conference earlier this month, the director revealed (via Variety) that he was writing “a multi-generational saga about an Italian American family not unlike his own.” So, a return to the kind of storytelling that anchored “The Godfather“? It kinda sounds like it. Back in 2012, Coppola shared details of a project he was working on at the time, one that he said he was nearly ready to start shooting. “My story is set in New York. I have a first draft. I’m really ready for a casting phase,” he said. “Movies are big in proportion to the period. It starts in the middle of the ‘20s, and there are sections in the ‘30s and the late ‘40s, and it goes until the late ‘60s.”
Clearly that didn’t quite happen, and we’d wager that even someone of Coppola’s stature will find it hard in today’s studio environment to sell them on a big, sweeping, costume drama. (Someone please tell Coppola about HBO). Anyway, we’ll see what, if anything, comes of it, but the director is still pushing the future of cinema as a “live” experience. You might remember that when he was out doing the rounds for “Twixt,” he had plans for a roadshow (which never really materialized after savage reviews for the film) where he would “remix” the movie on the fly from his iPad (which he demonstrated at Comic-Con). And he thinks the future of film is headed in a similar direction, where movies can be presented as they happen.
“The cinema can be composed for the audience while they’re seeing it,” Coppola said. “Movies no longer have to be set in stone and can be interpreted for an audience.” He added: “Live cinema could be like live theater. Streaming will be broadcasting.” Um…we’ll see about that.
Either way, we’re just glad that Coppola is writing a large scale drama, and we’ll be happy to see it the old-fashioned way, thank you very much.