The Oscar-winning filmmaker behind such classics as The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, and Apocalypse Now is preparing for his next big project, four decades after the release of some of his most notable films. Megalopolis has been in the works for years, according to Deadline, and now, after the sale of a chunk of his vineyard holdings in Sonoma County, Coppola, who is now 82 years old, is prepared to forge ahead and assume the financial risks of a film that is expected to cost between $100 and $120 million.
The process of securing cast member varies by individual, but the top contenders at the moment include Oscar Isaac, Forest Whitaker, Cate Blanchett, Jon Voight, Zendaya, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange, and James Caan, one of the stars of The Godfather. Describing the plot and cast, Coppola shared, “The concept of the film is a Roman epic, in the traditional Cecile B. DeMille or Ben-Hur way, but told as a modern counterpart focusing on America. It’s based on The Catiline Conspiracy, which comes to us from ancient Rome. 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 sent 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.”
Discussing the current highly politicized climate and his role in it, Coppola expressed, “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. I’m committed to making this movie, I’d like to make it in the fall of 2022. I don’t have all my cast approved, but I have enough of them to have confidence that it is going to be a very exciting cast.”
While he does potential investors lined up, Coppola is determined to get this film made, even if he has to foot most, or all, of the bill. “The picture’s going to cost between $100 million and $120 million. Needless to say, I hope it’s closer to $100 million. I’m prepared to match some outside financing, almost dollar for dollar. In other words, I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is. What’s interesting about that is, there was a documentary about my dream studio, when I owned Zoetrope Studios and I was unafraid to risk everything I had in order to make my dream come true. Well, I really haven’t changed my personality, at all.”