Francis Ford Coppola Responds to Accusations of Inappropriate Behavior on Megalopolis Set Says He’s Not Touchy-Feely
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Francis Ford Coppola Responds to Accusations of Inappropriate Behavior on Megalopolis Set Says He’s Not Touchy-Feely

Francis Ford Coppola has recently addressed allegations of inappropriate behavior on the set of his long-awaited film, “Megalopolis.” The 85-year-old director, known for his iconic works like “The Godfather” and “Apocalypse Now,” has been accused by several anonymous crew members of exhibiting “old school” behavior towards women during the film’s production.

In a report by The Guardian, published just days before the film’s premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, sources claimed that Coppola allegedly pulled women to sit on his lap and attempted to kiss some of the topless female extras during a nightclub scene. One source suggested that Coppola was trying to “get them in the mood” for the scene.

Coppola, however, has firmly denied these accusations. In an interview with The New York Times, he explained that his upbringing taught him to respect women. “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,” he said. “I’m not touchy-feely. I’m too shy.”

Darren Demetre, the executive co-producer of “Megalopolis,” also defended Coppola’s actions. He told The Guardian that Coppola’s behavior was intended to create a specific atmosphere for the film’s celebratory club scene. “There were two days when we shot a celebratory Studio 54-esque club scene where Francis walked around the set to establish the spirit of the scene by giving kind hugs and kisses on the cheek to the cast and background players,” Demetre explained. He added that he was unaware of any complaints of harassment or inappropriate behavior during the production.

Coppola further elaborated on one of the incidents, mentioning that the father of one of the women he kissed on the cheek took a picture of them together. “I knew her when she was 9,” he said, emphasizing that his actions were not meant to be inappropriate.

Despite these defenses, the allegations have cast a shadow over the film’s release. “Megalopolis,” which premiered at Cannes, has received mixed reviews. Some festivalgoers have praised the film as “staggeringly ambitious,” while others have described it as “absolute madness.” The film, which follows an architect’s quest to rebuild New York City as a utopia after a devastating disaster, has been a passion project for Coppola for over four decades. He first conceived the idea in the 1970s and began development in 1983. After several false starts and cancellations, Coppola revived the project in 2019, funding it with $120 million of his own money.

The ensemble cast of “Megalopolis” includes notable actors such as Adam Driver, Giancarlo Esposito, Nathalie Emmanuel, Aubrey Plaza, Shia LaBeouf, Jon Voight, Jason Schwartzman, Laurence Fishburne, Kathryn Hunter, and Dustin Hoffman. The film’s ambitious scope and star-studded cast have generated significant buzz, but the allegations against Coppola have also sparked controversy.

In addition to the accusations of inappropriate behavior, some crew members have described Coppola as “unpleasant” and “unorganized” on set. One source told The Guardian, “We were all aware that we were participating in what might be a really sad finish to his career. He was just so unpleasant toward a lot of the people who were trying to help facilitate the process and help make the movie better.” Another crew member questioned Coppola’s competence, saying, “This sounds crazy to say, but there were times when we were all standing around going: ‘Has this guy ever made a movie before?'”

Coppola did not address these specific allegations in his interview with The New York Times. However, he did speak about his mother, Italia, who he said “looked like Hedy Lamarr” and instilled in him values that he claims would prevent him from acting inappropriately.

Despite the mixed reviews and the controversy surrounding its production, “Megalopolis” received a seven-minute standing ovation at its Cannes premiere. Coppola addressed the audience, expressing his gratitude and urging them to pledge their allegiance to family and to the earth. He concluded his speech by dedicating the film to “Esperanza,” the Spanish word for hope.

As the film industry continues to grapple with issues of inappropriate behavior and harassment, Coppola’s case serves as a reminder of the complexities and challenges that come with navigating these allegations. While Coppola has denied the accusations and received support from some of his colleagues, the controversy has undoubtedly impacted the reception of his long-awaited project.