Long gestation periods for films aren’t uncommon. Terry Gilliam famously spent three decades trying to bring The Man Who Killed Don Quixote to the big screen, and when he finally did, he still wasn’t able to buck the lawsuits with his former producer to get it proper worldwide distribution.
The Thief and the Cobbler spent 29 years in production before it was forcibly taken away from its visionary, Richard Williams. Orson Welles’ The Other Side of the Wind began shooting in 1970 and wrapped in 2018, a full 48 years later. By that time, most of the film’s stars, production personnel, and Welles himself had passed away.
Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis isn’t quite in that company yet, but the idea for the film has been touted by Coppola for at least twenty years. Now, it seems as though Coppola’s epic is finally seeing the light of day.
According to a Deadline piece, the 82-year-old Coppola is prepared to personally pony up the nearly $100 million budget to make his dream project a reality. “It has become like a religious war, in that it’s not about anything logical,” Coppola explained. “I think the big news here is that I am still the same as I was 20 years ago or 40 years ago. I’m still willing to do the dream picture, even if I have to put up my own money, and I am capable of putting up $100 million if I have to here. I don’t want to, but I will do it if I have to.”
Described by Coppola as “a Roman epic, in the traditional Cecile B DeMille or Ben-Hur way, but told as a modern counterpart focusing on America,” the film appears to be moving forward with casting, as Coppola also provided a list of actors with whom he is in discussions with, including Oscar Isaac, Forest Whitaker, Cate Blanchett, Jon Voight, and James Caan, plus potential roles for Zendaya, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Jessica Lange.
Coppola’s original plan was to begin production on the film in the early 2000s, but a movie that included the destruction of a major American city was baulked at by studios after the 9/11 attacks. Coppola has slowed his directing pace as he’s grown older, with his last film, Twixt, having been released in 2011. It appears as though Coppola is firing back up his cameras to get his passion project out to the people.
Coppola says that he hopes to start making Megalopolis “in the fall of 2022″.