Aubrey Plaza addresses speculation surrounding Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis: ‘He doesn’t need my defence’

Plaza stars alongside Adam Driver in the Oscar-winning director’s new sci-fi epic

Inga Parkel
New York
Wednesday 15 May 2024 17:46
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Aubrey Plaza has addressed the speculation surrounding Francis Ford Coppola’s forthcoming sci-fi epic, Megalopolis.

The veteran director struggled to get funding for the film, which has cost $120m (£96m) and taken decades to make. It has yet to find a distributor.

After an industry screening in Los Angeles in late March, Megalopolis was already being dismissed as yet another of its legendary director’s folies de grandeur. The film debuted to critics at Cannes Film Festival on Thursday (16 May).

Of the furore surrounding the movie, Plaza, who plays journalist Wow Platinum in the movie alongside Adam Driver and Shia LaBeouf, told Deadline: “I thought it was kind of funny.

“I would defend Francis all day long, but he doesn’t need my defense,” she said. “I think when you’re on the inside of it, and you know what’s really going down, it’s almost like, ‘Let them make up their stories and let them cause a big ruckus about it. Why not? Drum up some more attention for the movie.’ I think it ends up, in my mind, all working for the movie.”

The White Lotus alum, 39, speculated that “people want that, especially with him, with all the stories about Apocalypse Now. They want it to be a disaster, they want some big epic… whatever”.

Coppola, 85, is often characterised as having a major temper.

Aubrey Plaza plays ambitious journalist Wow Platinum in Francis Ford Coppola’s forthcoming sci-fi epic (Getty Images)

In past interviews, the director revealed he threw his Oscar trophies out the window after stars including Al Pacino and Steve McQueen turned down the lead role in his 1979 Vietnam war epic, Apocalypse Now.

“Knowing Francis like I do now, I would think that it wouldn’t bother him at all, that he would love the tales that are being told about the film, like, ‘Go on, make up all the stories you want,’” Plaza added.

“He’s got such a magical way of directing and inspiring actors. You can feel it when you watch his movies and I felt it when I worked with him. It was everything that I had hoped for. And I think ultimately, he is just a brilliant storyteller, and he has something to say, I think.

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“Every movie that he makes, there is a passion behind it. It feels like there is a reason for it. It’s pure in an artistic sense. Even though he’s obviously commercially successful through the years, it never seems like it’s about that. It’s just that he wants to tell stories and he wants to play with actors. So, it’s my favorite stuff.”

Megalopolis is set in an “imagined Modern America”, an official logline reads. “The City of New Rome must change, causing conflict between Cesar Catilina (Driver), a genius artist who seeks to leap into a utopian, idealistic future, and his opposition, Mayor Franklyn Cicero (Giancarlo Esposito), who remains committed to a regressive status quo, perpetuating greed, special interests, and partisan warfare.

“Torn between them is socialite Julia Cicero (Nathalie Emmanuel), the mayor’s daughter, whose love for Cesar has divided her loyalties, forcing her to discover what she truly believes humanity deserves.”

Jon Voight, Laurence Fishburne, Talia Shire, Kathryn Hunter, Grace VanderWaal, Chloe Fineman, DB Sweeney and Dustin Hoffman also star.

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