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‘All Good Here!’ Says Adam Driver, Defending Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Megalopolis’ Set

“Not sure what set you’re talking about! I don’t recognize that one! I’ve been on sets that were chaotic and this one is far from it," Driver said in a statement.

Francis Ford Coppola Adam Driver Megalopolis

“Megalopolis” director Francis Ford Coppola (left) and star Adam Driver

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Francis Ford Coppola and star Adam Driver are defending the conditions on set of Coppola’s upcoming film “Megalopolis” after a report said that the shoot was in chaos following the departure of key creative talent.

Following an article Monday in The Hollywood Reporter, Coppola defended the film in a statement to Deadline as on budget and on schedule and disputed the idea of a “crew exodus”that would threaten to leave the film in peril. In a statement to IndieWire, Driver said THR’s characterization of the film as descending into chaos was inaccurate. He called it one of the best shooting experiences of his career. Driver did however confirm the departures of several in the creative team.

“All good here! Not sure what set you’re talking about! I don’t recognize that one! I’ve been on sets that were chaotic and this one is far from it,” Driver said in a statement. “The environment that’s being created by Francis, is one of focus and inspiration. As of now, we’re on schedule, making our days, and honestly, it’s been one of the best shooting experiences I’ve had. Our crew is fast and inventive, our costume department is on point, the actors are incredible and willing, and Francis is one of the most insightful and caring people to work with. I’m very proud to be making this movie with him, and them, and though I haven’t interviewed everyone, I can confidently say that that’s the general attitude on set.”

Someone close to the production confirmed to IndieWire that some key creative talent on “Megalopolis,” including visual effects production supervisor Mark Russell, production designer Beth Mickle, and supervising art director David Scott, left the film. The exiting crew prompted a statement from the Art Directors Guild that it would be looking into the situation to “ensure proper staffing and scheduling” on “Megalopolis.” The individual cited creative differences between Coppola and personnel.

However, the individual said a new production designer, Bradley Rubin of “The Mandalorian” and “A Star Is Born,” has already been brought on board, was introduced to staff, and will be bringing his own team. Guild rules stipulate that a film must employ an art director on each project with continuity. An individual close to the production says a guild rep was already on set in Atlanta reviewing the situation.

The individual pushed back on claims of a ballooning “Megalopolis” budget which is largely self financed by Coppola. The source claimed its costs remain just below $100 million.

IndieWire confirmed that the production let go its VFX team in early December. “Megalopolis” is utilizing an experimental virtual production technology, similar to tech used on “The Mandalorian.” While Coppola was satisfied with the results and the work of the VFX team, after getting what he needed in the first five weeks of production he chose to scale back to remain on budget.

Coppola is long regarded as the poster child for hectic, sprawling, and chaotic productions that still managed to spawn masterpieces, most famously “Apocalypse Now.” The director also fired his special effects department on 1992’s “Dracula.”

“Megalopolis” is Coppola’s first film since 2011’s “Twixt,” and the film currently does not have a distributor, though it does have a cast that includes Driver, Nathalie Emmanuel, Forest Whitaker, Laurence Fishburne, Jon Voight, Talia Shire, Shia LaBeouf, Jason Schwartzman, and Dustin Hoffman. The film is a futuristic story set in New York City, in which an architect aims to rebuild the city as a utopia following a devastating disaster.

See Driver’s full statement below:

I’d like to briefly respond to The Hollywood Reporter article published Monday, January 9th,” he said. “All good here! Not sure what set you’re talking about! I don’t recognize that one! I’ve been on sets that were chaotic and this one is far from it.

“The environment that’s being created by Francis, is one of focus and inspiration. As of now, we’re on schedule, making our days, and honestly, it’s been one of the best shooting experiences I’ve had. Our crew is fast and inventive, our costume department is on point, the actors are incredible and willing, and Francis is one of the most insightful and caring people to work with. I’m very proud to be making this movie with him, and them, and though I haven’t interviewed everyone, I can confidently say that that’s the general attitude on set.

“Yes, it is true that the art department resigned and VFX were let go. Not all departments find cohesion on films and rather than suffer through and making decisions that leave a lasting impression on the film, people quit, get fired, or part ways. It’s unfortunate when it happens, but this production is not out of pocket in comparison to other productions; especially to the point that it merits an article about us descending into chaos. That characterization is inaccurate.

“No one signed up for this movie expecting the process to be conventional. We were expecting the opposite in the pursuit of making something unique. The only madness I’ve observed is that more productions aren’t allowed to be as creatively wild and experimentally focused, precisely because someone else is paying for it. It’s an effort and risk by Francis that I feel should be applauded, not publicly mischaracterized as troubled.

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