Francis Ford Coppola on 'Megalopolis' $120M Budget: "The Money Doesn’t Matter"

Coppola discusses the future of film industry and politics

by Zain ul Abedin
Francis Ford Coppola on 'Megalopolis' $120M Budget: "The Money Doesn’t Matter"
© Victor Boyko/Getty Images

On Friday afternoon, during the 77th Cannes Film Festival, legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola addressed a packed press conference about his latest film, Megalopolis. This event marked Coppola's first film in competition at Cannes since Apocalypse Now 45 years ago.

The press conference, which began over half an hour late, saw the 85-year-old director in high spirits, expressing feelings of “relief and joy” following the film's premiere. Coppola invested $120 million of his own money into the ambitious sci-fi epic, which faced numerous production challenges, including the departure of key creative talent.

Despite these hurdles, Coppola emphasized that financial concerns were secondary to artistic and personal fulfillment. “My children have wonderful careers without a fortune. The money doesn’t matter. What is important are the friends,” he stated.

The press conference featured notable actors from Megalopolis, including Adam Driver, Aubrey Plaza, Nathalie Emmanuel, Giancarlo Esposito, Laurence Fishburne, Jon Voight, and Talia Shire. Esposito, who plays the mayor of New Rome, admitted to initial uncertainty about the film’s direction but praised Coppola's visionary approach after viewing the final product.

Driver, who plays the lead role, likened the filmmaking process to experimental theater, describing it as “rebellious and exciting”.

Political Themes and Distribution

Megalopolis also carries significant political themes, with Shia LaBeouf portraying a character reminiscent of Donald Trump.

Coppola drew parallels between modern America and the fall of Rome, expressing hope that artists could illuminate a path forward. He engaged Voight, known for his conservative views, in a dialogue about the country’s future.

Voight expressed optimism, agreeing that humanity can solve its problems. While Megalopolis is still seeking U.S. distribution, it has secured an Imax release and sales in select European markets. Reflecting on the evolving film industry, Coppola suggested that tech companies might play a pivotal role in the future of filmmaking.

He also hinted at the possibility of revisiting and re-editing Megalopolis in the coming years but remains focused on new projects. Coppola concluded by reflecting on his storied career and the personal milestones he cherishes.

“When I die, I got to do this... I got to make all the movies I wanted to make. And I’m going to be so busy thinking about what I got to do that when I die I won’t notice it,” he said.