The news that legendary Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola faced production problems in his latest epic Megalopolis should come as little surprise given the iconic filmmaker’s past experience with chaotic sets.
Coppola and its star, Adam Driver, denied a report by The Hollywood Reporter that claimed the ambitious sci-fi epic had hit choppy waters with creative fires, budgets ballooning, and last-minute visual effects woes.
Read more: Coppola says Megalopolis rumors are not true
Here are some of the Oscar winner’s most problematic productions to date.
Doomsday Now | 1979
Coppola didn’t have an easy journey while filming The Godfather, but it put him on the map in Hollywood, winning Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay at the 1972 Oscars.
However, the Vietnamese classic Apocalypse Now, released seven years later, is known for being one of the craziest shots in history – from the heart attacks of its first protagonists, Harvel Keitel and Martin Sheen, to a typhoon that destroyed the sets and Marlon. Brando’s unique performance. As Coppola says, “We were in the jungle. There were a lot of us. We had access to a lot of money, a lot of equipment, and we were slowly going crazy.”
However, you may not have heard of this particular story, which was actually set at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival, where the film was – arguably – shown as a work in progress.
Read more: How Apocalypse Now almost killed Martin Sheen
Coppola was staying at The Carlton Hotel in the Croisette, where the UK trade newspaper Screen International (SI) is also running a daily magazine during the festival. The production reporter was tasked with an interview with the director, but Coppola told him it had to be off the record.
The reporter returned to the SI offices with some excellent quotes about the pains of the movie. He was then told to ignore Coppola’s requests and write the interview right away.
The magazine was published at 7 am. The next morning it was delivered to the door of every major hotel room in Cannes. The front page headline was “Coppola’s Worries About the Apocalypse”.
Less than an hour later, when most of the SI staff, including the reporter in question, were at their desks, Coppola burst into the 2nd floor office, stood in front of the reporter’s desk and shouted at him about betrayal and betrayal.
He clearly wanted to punch him, but instead, he grabbed some papers from the reporter’s desk and threw them into the air, while the entire editorial team was desperately trying to avoid eye contact with him.
At this point, the magazine’s editor-in-chief (not a former Fleet St cheater and movie man), whose desk was facing the other way, suddenly turned around because of the commotion, and a bearded, red-faced blithely said: “I’m sorry, who are you, love?”
Cue Coppola quickly turned on her heels and walked out not only from the office but, reportedly, from the festival that day.
One of the Heart | 1982
One of the reasons Coppola is considered such an iconoclastic filmmaker is that he tries to do things outside of the Hollywood system and out of the ordinary. But when he financed this flamboyant musical, starring Teri Garr and Frederic Forrest, out of his own pocket, it was all trouble.
The love affair in Las Vegas was a huge bombshell that crashed Coppola financially. The producer said that since his marriage was on the rocks, he originally envisioned the film as part of a quartet based on Goethe’s Selective Affinities.
Read more: Godfather beaten in legendary mayhem
He said it was a “shock” that actually happened, as the debt he owed to the bank after the movie’s failure eventually drove him into bankruptcy in 1990.
Cotton Club | 1984
Coppola only started directing this gangster heist at the last minute because he was still in financial trouble thanks to One From The Heart, and producer/crazy Robert Evans asked him for a favor.
The production was almost two years of complete chaos with constantly changing scenarios. As Coppola told writer Peter Biskind, “I didn’t want to shoot The Cotton Club, it was a nightmare, it was already over $25 million in budget, there was no script, there was Richard Gere in a gangster movie who didn’t want to play a gangster…”
The budget was complex and the team, including Coppola, were not always paid on time. Meanwhile, Roy Radin, a partner of Evans who was involved in the financing, was killed during pre-production of the event known as The Cotton Club Murder.
If the movie had been both brilliant and successful, it might all have been worth it. He wasn’t either.
Tetro | 2009
In this 2009 drama, future Han Solo Alden Ehrenreich was cast as a man in Buenos Aires trying to find his older brother (played by Vincent Gallo).
Unfortunately, while Coppola was preparing to shoot in the Argentine city, armed thieves broke into his office (luckily he wasn’t there at the time) and stole computers and data, although rumors that they had also stolen Tetro’s only script were a bit too much. exaggerated.
“Anyone robbed is always depressing, and I lost some data,” Coppola said. “I didn’t lose the script. They said the script is gone, but I have other copies of the script.”
That wasn’t the only problem filmmaking faced. Argentine Actors Assn. – aka the union – said he stopped shooting due to a contract dispute.
Read more: Actors injured in Oscar-winning films
The problem was finally solved. “The problem is solved,” union general secretary Norberto Gonzalo told Reuters.
“The producers’ lawyers submitted the necessary documents and understood the mistakes they made. So they can now continue production.”
Watch a trailer for The Godfather’s restoration