Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis shoot undergoing severe difficulties

Francis Ford Coppola
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An exodus of key crew, a spiralling budget and a ‘chaotic’ set spell trouble for Francis Ford Coppola’s self-financed dream project Megalopolis.

As the years have passed, Francis Ford Coppola’s planned movie Megalopolis had begun to look increasingly like one of those passion projects that would never enter production. You have a filmmaker who hasn’t directed for a decade, an ambitious and expensive project and what’s more, no studio financing.

These factors didn’t stop veteran director, Francis Ford Coppola who undeterred, stumped up the supposed $80m budget himself and assembled an all-star ensemble that includes Dustin Hoffman, Aubrey Plaza, Adam Driver, Game Of Thrones’ Nathalie Emmanuel, Forest Whitaker, Laurence Fishburne, Jon Voight, Talia Shire, Jason Schwartzman, Shia LaBeouf, Grace VanderWaal, Kathryn Hunter and James Remar.

However, The Hollywood Reporter is claiming that production of the film is not going smoothly at all, with a mid-shoot switch from virtual production to green screen technology resulting in the entire visual effects crew either being fired or leaving. This isn’t the first time that Coppola has fired most of his VFX team, with the filmmaker doing the same thing decades ago during the production of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. 

This worrying move reportedly comes in the wake of ongoing turbulence which has seen the budget balloon upwards from original projections of around $80m, no small matter when Coppola is financing the entire project himself. Other key crew have also left their positions with the story suggesting that the film also has no art department following the departure of the project’s production designer and art director.

Of course, Coppola has led chaotic productions before which have then yielded masterpieces, most notably in the form of Apocalypse Now which boasts one of Hollywood’s most turbulent production stories. Now it looks like the legendary filmmaker is going to have to pull off another unlikely victory with Megalopolis, this time with higher personal stakes considering that he is funding the entire endeavour.

Of course, that’s assuming that the film can even complete production given the spiralling budget and lack of studio financing to support further setbacks, not to mention that the project hasn’t yet secured a distributor.

We wouldn’t bet against Coppola as he’s found himself in this position several times before in his career and triumphed, but the rest of Megalopolis’ production will be keenly watched by the industry to see if the maverick filmmaker can conjure up one more miracle and somehow turn the troubled production into a success.

Image: BigStock

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