First trailer released for Megalopolis, the ‘crazy’ film The Godfather director self-financed for $120m

Francis Ford Coppola’s passion project has been decades in the making

Louis Chilton
Sunday 05 May 2024 08:42 BST
Megalopolis trailer

The first trailer for Megalopolis, the big-budget passion project from The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola, has been released online.

Adam Driver stars in the film, which was financed using the filmmaker’s own money at a budget of around $120m (£96m).

Megalopolis is set to premiere at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival, although has yet to secure a distributor in the UK and US.

The trailer was released after the film was picked up by French distribution company Le Pacte.

Coppola, one of the giants of the New Hollywood film movement and director of films including Apocalypse Now! and The Conversation, first started work on the film in 1979. Following numerous delays and cancellations, he eventually decided to finance the project himself, in part using profits from his lucrative wine business.

It will be Coppola’s first directoral effort since the horror film Twixt in 2011.

Shot between November 2022 and March 2023, the film also stars Aubrey Plaza, Nathalie Emmanuel, Giancarlo Esposito, Jon Voight, Laurence Fishburne, Shia LaBeouf, Jason Schwartzman, Dustin Hoffman, and Talia Shire.

In the trailer, Driver’s character is seen standing on the roof of a skyscraper, and seemingly displays the ability to stop time.

While much of the plot of Megalopolis is still under wraps, reports have emerged of early reactions to the film within the industry, with some branding it “crazy” and “uncommercial”.

A report in The Hollywood Reporter earlier this year quoted distributors who had seen the film as saying that it would likely be too challenging for mainstream audiences.

“There is just no way to position this movie,” said one, while another claimed: “Everyone is rooting for Francis and feels nostalgic. But then there is the business side of things.”

Adam Driver in ‘Megalopolis’
Adam Driver in ‘Megalopolis’ (Le Pacte)

However, other attendees of the industry screening offered positive verdicts on Megalopolis.

“I liked it enormously,” says one person, described as a “specialty label founder”.

The subject describes the work as a “very big film” that “has a real life… How do you define commercial? You look at movie like Blade Runner and it became so much more commercial than on opening weekend.”

Speaking to Vanity Fair earlier this week, Coppola explained: “The seeds for Megalopolis were planted when as a kid I saw H G Wells’s Things to Come. This 1930s Korda classic is about building the world of tomorrow, and has always been with me, first as the ‘boy scientist’ I was and later as a filmmaker.”

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