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Francis Ford Coppola Willing to Spend $100M of His Own Money to Get Dream Project ‘Megalopolis’ Made

Coppola is in discussions with Oscar Isaac, Forest Whitaker, Cate Blanchett, and more to star.

Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

News broke in April 2019 that Francis Ford Coppola was finally gearing up to direct his decades-in-the-making passion project “Megalopolis.” The science-fiction epic was written in the early 1980s but always took a backseat to Coppola’s other projects. By the time “The Godfather” director was ready to move into production at the turn of the century, the September 11 attacks happened and shut the production down. Now Coppola says he will put up $100 million of his own fortune to get “Megalopolis” made if he has to.

“It has become like a religious war, in that it’s not about anything logical,” Coppola told Deadline. “I think the big news here is that I am still the same as I was 20 years ago or 40 years ago. I’m still willing to do the dream picture, even if I have to put up my own money, and I am capable of putting up $100 million if I have to here. I don’t want to, but I will do it if I have to.

Coppola added that he is “committed to making this movie” and would “like to make it in the fall of 2022.” According to Deadline: “While some conversations are further along then others, the actors Coppola is discussing roles with include Oscar Isaac, Forest Whitaker, Cate Blanchett, and Jon Voight, with Zendaya, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Jessica Lange also actors he is seeking. He will also reunite with James Caan, whose role as Sonny Corleone in Coppola’s ‘The Godfather’ made Caan one of the biggest stars of that era.”

“Megalopolis” is to be made in the tradition of a Roman epic (think “Ben-Hur” or a Cecil B. DeMille epic) and based on the Catiline Conspiracy. As Coppola explained, “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.”

Coppola is now trying to get the money he needs to support his vision. The director said he expects “Megalopolis” to carry a budget between $100 million and $125 million.

“I have some private financiers who want to come in on a partner basis, and I’m willing to match their funds, if I have to,” Coppola said. “Obviously the more money I have to put up, the more complications it gives me, but I am capable of doing it. I am capable of going the whole distance if I really had to. It would be hard for me or anyone to put up $100 million to make a utopian dream of a film, but it is not impossible for that to happen.”

Head over to Deadline’s website to read Coppola’s latest interview on “Megalopolis.”

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