Last night Francis Ford Coppola came to the Los Angeles DGA to flog the new 2 disc Apocalyse Now: The Complete Dossier DVD (a really great DVD set, but not one that can claim to be complete. While it includes the original and Redux cuts and lots of extra features, it does not have Hearts of Darkness, the documentary Coppola’s wife shot on the troubled (understatement) set of the film), and David Poland was there. Poland reports back that Coppola is still editing his new film, Youth Without Youth, which is currently coming in at 2 hours and 40 some odd minutes. The director promises he has no intentions of releasing the film at that length.
What caught my eye, though, was Coppola declaring Megalopolis dead. The film was to be a massive epic about an urban planner working to change the face of New York City, and Coppola had been working on it for years and years. This isn’t the first time Coppola has declared the film kaput, but this time he put what feels like the final nail in the coffin: he announced that he is about 40 pages into his next film, a small personal movie that he can self-finance.
And so Megalopolis gets put on the “What if” pile. It’s sad that a director on the scale of Francis Ford Coppola can’t get the funding for his projects (although to be fair, he said other reasons the film died is because he couldn’t quite get the script to work and that the changes in the post-9/11 world would demand massive reworking of the concept). Maybe his Godfather days are behind him, but I like to imagine that it would just take a couple of bucks and an understanding studio to get Coppola back up to speed.