Francis Ford Coppola Denies Inappropriate Behavior

Francis Ford Coppola Denies Inappropriate Behavior

Francis Ford Coppola Denies Inappropriate Behavior

Francis Ford Coppola has recently addressed allegations of inappropriate behavior on the set of his latest film, “Megalopolis.” The acclaimed director, known for his work on “The Godfather,” has firmly denied these claims.

In a report by The Guardian last month, several anonymous crew members accused Coppola of behaving inappropriately during the film’s production. Coppola responded to these allegations in an interview with Manohla Dargis of The New York Times during the Cannes Film Festival. He referenced his upbringing and the values instilled in him by his mother, Italia Coppola.

“My mother told me that if you make an advance toward a woman, it means you disrespect her, and the girls I had crushes on, I certainly didn’t disrespect them,” Coppola stated.

When pressed further, Coppola mentioned a photo of one of the women he kissed on the cheek, taken by her father. “I knew her when she was 9,” he added. A source confirmed that the woman worked as an extra on the “Megalopolis” set.

Coppola emphasized, “I’m not touchy-feely. I’m too shy.”

The Guardian’s May 14 report described Coppola’s behavior as “old school,” alleging that he pulled women to sit on his lap and tried to kiss topless and scantily clad female extras during a nightclub scene. Coppola reportedly claimed he was “trying to get them in the mood.”

Following the allegations, “Megalopolis” first assistant director Mariela Comitini shared her perspective with IndieWire. “As a 1st AD with more than 35 films to my credit, I can say working alongside Francis Ford Coppola was an honor,” Comitini said. “I watched as Francis created a vibrant, professional, and positive environment on set.”

Executive co-producer Darren Demetre also refuted the claims, stating he was “never aware of any complaints of harassment” during production. “I have known and worked with Francis and his family for over 35 years,” Demetre said. “Francis successfully produced and directed an enormous independent film, making all the difficult decisions to ensure it was delivered on time and on budget, while remaining true to his creative vision.”

Demetre explained that during a celebratory Studio 54-esque club scene, Coppola walked around the set giving kind hugs and kisses on the cheek to the cast and background players. “It was his way to help inspire and establish the club atmosphere, which was so important to the film,” Demetre added.

The “Megalopolis” production faced other controversies as well. Preproduction began in July 2022, and shooting started in November. However, by December, most of the visual effects and art teams had left the project, including VFX production supervisor Mark Russell, production designer Beth Mickle, and supervising art director David Scott. A source told IndieWire that creative differences between Coppola and select crew members led to their departures.

The Art Directors Guild issued a statement saying it would look into the situation to “ensure proper staffing and scheduling.” New production designer Bradley Rubin joined the project.

“Megalopolis” star Adam Driver defended the production process. “All good here! Not sure what set you’re talking about! I don’t recognize that one!” Driver said in a statement to IndieWire. “The environment that’s being created by Francis is one of focus and inspiration.”

Driver later told Paste that “Megalopolis” was “one of the most exciting things that I’ve ever been a part of” and “one of the best shooting experiences I’ve had.”

Coppola told Deadline in 2023 that while “Megalopolis” is a “big, difficult movie” to make, there were no issues in production. “A rumor starts out; there was a report about chaos. But the source was no source,” Coppola said. “From my point of view, I was on schedule, which, on a big, difficult movie, is hard to do.”

“Megalopolis,” which premiered at Cannes, does not have distribution yet. Coppola funded the film, which had a $125 million budget, himself.

At the Cannes premiere, the film received a mixed reaction. Journalists reported booing from the audience after the film ended, but the boos quickly turned to cheers during an “In Memoriam” segment for Coppola’s late wife, Eleanor. The director and cast then received a seven-minute standing ovation.

“Thank you all so much. It is so impossible to find words to tell you how I feel,” Coppola said after the credits rolled, introducing his family members to the audience. “But they were not the only family because all of these wonderful actors and folks were all my family. As Cesar [Driver’s character in the film] says, we’re all one family. You’re all my cousins. We are one. We are the human family. As you see at the end, that’s who we should pledge our allegiance to: our entire family and to this beautiful home, Earth, that we have.”

“That is my wish. That it’s the children who are going to inherit this beautiful world from us. The most important word we have is the most beautiful word in any language: ‘esperanza.’ Hope. And that’s what I dedicate this to,” Coppola concluded.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top