When Francis Ford Coppola announced he was self-financing Megalopolis, a movie he’s been trying to get off the ground for some four decades, it almost seemed too good to be true. And it might be: As per The Hollywood Reporter, the star-studded shoot has already descended into abject chaos.
The report reveals that in the last week, the Atlanta shoot, which is halfway through production, has lost key creative talent, including its production designer and supervising art director. It’s not the first headache to descend upon the production: Sources say that back in early December, Coppola fired nearly his entire visual effects department. (He did the same thing, infamously, on 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which wound up having incredible practical effects.)
What’s more, both production designer Beth Mickle and supervising art director David Scott have skedaddled. It’s believed that the film currently has no art department, though he’s reportedly trying to fill the vacant positions. To make matters worse, it was at least partly being shot on an expensive, cutting-edge LED volume, much like The Mandalorian. As production costs unexpectedly balloon — and, again, Coppola is funding this himself with his wine fortune — it’s believed they’ll be shifting to a cheaper green screen alternative.
One source who was let go called the set “absolute madness.”
A Francis Ford Coppola shoot turning into a nightmare? It should sound familiar. The disastrous shoot for Apocalypse Now, his legendary 1979 Vietnam War epic, is the stuff of legend, and was so storied that it begat a documentary, made by his wife Eleanor Coppola, almost as gripping as the subject itself.
In other words, the guy’s still got it! Whether he can complete it is another matter, but there’s still something to say that, even in 2023, at the age of 83, Francis Ford Coppola can still gift the world with a chaos shoot — that may wind up birthing a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.