Movies - Megalopolis : Francis Ford Coppola's Unveils First Images Ahead of Cannes Premiere

By Mulder, 04 may 2024

In a thrilling development for film enthusiasts and science fiction aficionados, acclaimed filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola’s long-awaited film Megalopolis has unveiled its first images in a recent YouTube video. This highly anticipated project is set to debut at the Cannes Film Festival on May 17, 2024, and has already stirred considerable excitement within the industry.

Megalopolis is an epic science fiction drama penned, directed, and produced by Coppola himself. The film is set in a sprawling metropolis grappling with the aftermath of a catastrophic disaster. The impressive ensemble cast includes notable actors such as Adam Driver, Nathalie Emmanuel, Giancarlo Esposito, Jon Voight, Laurence Fishburne, and Aubrey Plaza. It's a testament to Coppola's enduring vision and dedication, as the project has been a labor of love since he first conceived the idea in 1979. After numerous setbacks and delays, Coppola decided to fund the film himself, investing a staggering $120 million.

The plot of Megalopolis revolves around an idealist named Cesar who dreams of rebuilding a devastated metropolis as a sustainable utopia, while the city’s corrupt mayor, Frank Cicero, has other plans. The mayor’s daughter, Julia, finds herself torn between these opposing visions. Coppola, who grew up in New York, was inspired by various influences, including the scientific community's history with risky experiments and classic films such as Fritz Lang's Metropolis and William Cameron Menzies's Things to Come. The film also draws on Roman epic themes, set against a modern backdrop reminiscent of James Joyce's Ulysses and the adaptation of Heart of Darkness in Apocalypse Now.

The film's ensemble cast is a highlight, featuring talents like Shia LaBeouf, Jason Schwartzman, Grace VanderWaal, Talia Shire, and Dustin Hoffman, among others. Pre-production began in 2022, and the film was shot primarily at Trilith Studios in Georgia. The production, which initially used advanced OSVP technology, pivoted to a more traditional greenscreen approach due to mounting costs and challenges. Despite some hiccups during production, including crew turnover, the project has been described as crackling with ideas.

Megalopolis has been characterized as a philosophical yet satirical commentary on the United States, with elements reminiscent of Julius Caesar and Blade Runner. The film's early screenings received a range of reactions, from impressed to perplexed, reflecting its bold and imaginative nature. Despite initial mixed reactions, Coppola remains optimistic, comparing the reception to that of his iconic film Apocalypse Now.

The film is poised for its grand debut at Cannes, with potential distribution in the works. Despite some concerns about its financial viability, industry insiders acknowledge the film's imaginative and ambitious scale. As the film world awaits its premiere, Megalopolis promises to be a distinctive addition to Coppola’s legacy, combining his visionary storytelling with a talented cast and a plot that explores humanity's future.

Megalopolis represents Francis Ford Coppola's return to the epic storytelling that defined his career. With its stellar cast, intriguing plot, and the filmmaker's unwavering dedication, it’s set to make a lasting impact on cinema. The first images, now available online, offer a tantalizing glimpse into this highly anticipated film, leaving audiences eager for its premiere at Cannes.

Synopsis :
Megalopolis is a Roman epic set in an imaginary modern America in the throes of decadence. The city of New Rome is in dire need of change, creating a major conflict between Caesar Catiline, a genius artist with the power to stop time, and arch-conservative mayor Franklyn Cicero. The former dreams of an ideal utopian future, while the latter remains committed to a regressive status quo that protects greed, privilege and private militias. The mayor's jet-setting daughter Julia Cicero, in love with Caesar Catilina, is torn between the two men, and will have to discover what seems best for the future of humanity.

Written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Produced by Francis Ford Coppola, Michael Bederman
Starring  Adam Driver, Nathalie Emmanuel, Giancarlo Esposito, Jon Voight, Laurence Fishburne, Aubrey Plaza, Shia LaBeouf, Jason Schwartzman, Grace VanderWaal, Kathryn Hunter, Talia Shire, Dustin Hoffman, D. B. Sweeney
Cinematography : Mihai M─âlaimare Jr
Edited by : Glen Scantlebury
Music by Osvaldo Golijov
Production company : American Zoetrope
Distributed by Le Pacte (France)
Release date : May 17, 2024 (Cannes)