A clip for one of the most anticipated films of Cannes has been unveiled this morning by writer/director Francis Ford Coppola. Opening with that famous American Zoetrope logo from the 1970s, the clip begins with Adam Driver’s character exiting a window at the top floor of a skyscraper and slowly inching towards the building’s sloped edge. As he bends to look down at the street below, then lifts a leg to step off, he loses his balance and yells, “Time stop!” The world freezes and Driver’s character is able to lean back and regain his footing before snapping time back into action. If one looks deep enough, a metaphor can be found for Coppola’s entire cinematic career within this simple two minute scene. 

The film’s official description reads: “Megalopolis”is a Roman Epic fable set in an imagined Modern America. The City of New Rome must change, causing conflict between Cesar Catilina (Adam Driver), a genius artist who seeks to leap into a utopian, idealistic future, and his opposition, Mayor Franklyn Cicero (Giancarlo Esposito), who remains committed to a regressive status quo, perpetuating greed, special interests, and partisan warfare. Torn between them is socialite Julia Cicero (Nathalie Emmanuel), the mayor’s daughter, whose love for Cesar has divided her loyalties, forcing her to discover what she truly believes humanity deserves.

Coppola is still seeking distribution for the film, while at the same time facing tragedies in his personal life as a result of the passing of his wife, fellow filmmaker, writer, and artist Eleanor Coppola. In a post on his Instagram this morning, Francis wrote, “Megalopolis has always been a film dedicated to my dear wife Eleanor. I really had hoped to celebrate her birthday together this May 4th. But sadly that was not to be, so let me share with everyone a gift on her behalf.”

The film also features performances from Shia LaBoeuf, Aubrey Plaza, Lawrence Fishbourne, and Jon Voight, as well as Coppola’s own sister and nephew, Talia Shire and Jason Schwartzman. Coppola self-financed the $120 million production through the sale of one of his vineyards and has a long history of betting on himself. In speaking on the kind of distribution deal Coppola’s looking for, his longtime lawyer and producer, Barry Hirsh said, “We need to be as creative in the dealmaking as Francis was making this movie. People have told me that the movie is unlike anything they’ve ever seen before, and maybe that’s where the dealmaking will need to be.”

Watch the first clip from “Megalopolis” below.

Leave a comment