In a career as full of ups and downs as Francis Ford Coppola’s, there is a film that stands out for its ambition … and that film has not even been made. We are talking about Megalopolis, a science fiction project that the man behind The Godfather has been trying to get made since the 80s and that he has now decided to carry out by financing it himself.
Coppola’s goal seems feasible, but there is something in it that makes our hair stand on end: the film would need “between $100 million and $120 million” to get in the can, according to the director in an interview for Deadline.
“It has become like a religious war, in that it’s not about anything logical,” Coppola admits. “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.”
The filmmaker’s ideas for the cast of Megalopolis live up to that ambition. Coppola wants Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Cate Blanchett, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange, Forest Whitaker and his old friend James Caan for the film. Things become ironic if we think that Isaac will portray Coppola himself in the series about the filming of The Godfather.
All of them would be involved in a hybrid of sword-and-sandal and futuristic fantasy, set in a city of the future called New Rome, and based in a historical event: the Catiline conspiracy. In Coppola’s words: “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.”
Instead of consul of the Roman Republic, Whitaker’s Cicero will be the mayor of a futuristic version of New York, called New Rome and facing the greatest financial crisis in history. As references for his film, Coppola doesn’t fall short and talks about Ben-Hur and Cecil B. DeMille’s movies.
“I have some private financiers who want to come in on a partner basis, and I’m willing to match their funds,” Coppola explains. “Obviously the more money I have to put up, the more complications it gives me, but I am capable of doing it,” he adds. “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.”