Megalopolis – a science fiction tale of epic proportions – has been described by director Francis Ford Coppola as a highly personal film. He has claimed that his major studio productions from the 90s – Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Jack (1996) and The Rainmaker (1997) – were made to generate enough finance to get his pet obsession off the ground. So why, I hear you ask, with three financial hits did Megalopolis never come to fruition?
Well, it came very close, with test shots produced in New York and meetings with potential actors progressing well. However, the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre happened soon after progress started to be made and this threw a spanner in Coppola’s works. For a film that heavily featured an aspiration for a utopian NYC, it suddenly became impossible for the director to create such an impression. Coppola toiled with what direction to take the film in but ultimately found he couldn’t achieve anything without finding himself forced to acknowledge the implications of one of America’s greatest tragedies.
Coppola spoke of the film a few years back;
“The setting is modern New York. It deals… with the idea that the future world we’re going to live in is being negotiated today… It’s kind of a shape-of-things-to-come film in which the characters are concerned with artists, businessmen, proletariat all having a stake in the future but very few of them having a hand in what it’s going to be like. It’s a little bit like an Ayn Rand novel.”
A few concept images were leaked too;
Megalopolis was subsequently shelved in 2007, with Coppola claiming to not have entirely turned his back on it. Whilst he hasn’t ruled out returning to the idea he has yet to do so, instead making and releasing Youth Without Youth (2007) – a romance story wrapped up in a medical fantasy/mystery – Tetro (2009) – a drama revolving around the relationship of two brothers – and the upcoming Twixt Now and Sunrise (2011) – a gothic film created out of an alcohol induced dream the director had in Turkey! The possibility of Megalopolis remains, but it seems that viewers will have to suffice with Coppola’s other ‘personal’ projects, rather than his grand science fiction feature.