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Francis Ford Coppola Wants To Do His Brewing Family Saga As Live Television, Talks “Pity” Of George Lucas & ‘Star Wars’

Francis Ford Coppola Wants To Do His Brewing Family Saga As Live Television, Talks "Pity" Of George Lucas & 'Star Wars'

The latter-era career of Francis Ford Coppola has been marked by experimentation. He went black-and-white for “Tetro;” played with digital, 3D and on-the-fly editing in festival screenings with “Twixt;” and during his address at the Marrakech International Film Festival, called out the creative gatekeepers of the industry who put profit over progress. It may be why the director is now saying he’s going to hang it all up, though he’s going to go out by once again trying to push the boundaries of storytelling.

Last year, the director revealed he was in the midst of writing what he described as “a multi-generational saga about an Italian-American family not unlike his own.” Now, in an interview with Screen Daily, he reveals a few more details about the project, titled “Distant Vision,” and the approach he wants to take. 

“I may only make one film more in my life, but it may be very long, and it may go in different places,” Coppola said. “It’s sort of like [Thomas Mann‘s] ‘Buddenbrooks‘ because it’s about three generations of a family. It happens during the birth of television; the growth and omnipresence of television and finally the end of television as it turns into the internet. Then I decided that I wanted to do it as live television.”

Maybe he can ring up NBC, as they’ve recently revived the format commonly used in the pre-tape era of television for their recent batch of musicals — though, given what the director has said about the project, wouldn’t a live web stream make more sense? At any rate, Coppola sees a convergence happening between cinema and television. 

“It has all become one. There is no more film, there is no more television — there is cinema. And it can be everywhere and anywhere and it can do anything,” he stated. And at 76 years old, the director is still ready to go out on the high wire in the pursuit of making something great.
“I feel that it’s essential that we have to risk failure — with all art,” he added. “You can’t start to make a big project which has 100% no risk. How do you make a film like ‘The Godfather‘? Risk.”

Meanwhile, Coppola reflected on “Star Wars” and what it has made of his pal George Lucas, who has also been vocal about experimentation, though hasn’t really followed through on those words. “I think ‘Star Wars,’ it’s a pity, because George Lucas was a very experimental crazy guy and he got lost in this big production and never got out of it,” Coppola said. “I still hope that he made so much money out of it that he will just make some little movies. He promises me that he will.”

Don’t worry, Coppola, he promises all of us the same thing.

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