Megalopolis | Francis Ford Coppola’s sci-fi film to debut at Cannes

megalopolis cannes
Share this Article:

Francis Ford Coppola’s sci-fi passion project Megalopolis is to screen in competition at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

Megalopolis, the long-in-the-making sci-fi opus from director Francis Ford Coppola, is still seeking a distributor, but it’s also set to make its debut at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

There have been reports for a while that Coppola’s latest movie would make an appearance at the festival, but now it’s been confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter that Megalopolis will screen in competition on the 17th May – meaning it’s in contention for a coveted Palme d’Or prize. The previous winner was Justine Triet’s forensically precise drama, Anatomy Of A Fall.

Coppola first came up with the idea of Megalopolis back in the 1970s, and he’s spent the decades since trying to get it made. It’s a project that has so obsessed him that he even sold one of his vineyards to help fund its rumoured $120m production.

Its story is vaguely Ayn Rand-sounding: an unspecified disaster has left a city in a state of collapse; an architect named Caesar (Adam Driver) has plans to rebuild it, but to achieve his utopian vision he has to contend with a conservative and corrupt mayor, Frank Cicero (Giancarlo Esposito).

It’s a grand-sounding, high-minded premise, and Coppola has managed to assemble multiple generations of stars for its cast, with Dustin Hoffman, Talia Shire and Jon Voight rubbing shoulders with Aubrey Plaza, Jason Schwarzman and Shia LaBeouf on the packed list.

With the film now complete following a long and reportedly difficult production, the next challenge is finding a studio willing to take the risk of putting it in cinemas. An IMAX screening for potential buyers took place in recent weeks, with decision-makers from some of Hollywood’s biggest companies – Universal, Netflix and the like – all in attendance. Responses so far have been mixed, but the general consensus seems to be that it’s a massive risk, and that any studio backing Megalopolis would be unlikely to recoup the cost of marketing it.

Coppola has been here before, though. Forty-five years ago, Apocalypse Now went through a famously nightmarish production, and Coppola took the unusual step of showing an unfinished cut at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival. It wound up winning the Palme ‘dOr.

A similarly successful showing for Megalopolis could help it find the distributor it needs. And – who knows? – maybe it’ll follow the same path as Apocalypse Now, a film that was greeted by mixed reviews, but is now regarded as a classic.

Coppola’s appearance at Cannes means he’ll be joining a number of other Hollywood veterans at the festival. His old friend George Lucas is to get an Honorary Palm d’Or; George Miller’s screening his Mad Max prequel, Furiosa, while Kevin Costner’s showing off his epic western, Horizon: An American Story.

Share this Article:

More like this