I’ve just read an excellent, day-and-a-half-old Michael Fleming interview with Francis Coppola. (It was posted at Cannes dinner hour on Monday, 5.13).
It reminded me what a great and expansive interview subject Coppola can be when the spigots are truly turned on — a fact that I gratefully realized 38 years ago when I cold-called Coppola at the Sherry Netherland one night and got him to talk for nearly two hours. It resulted in a two-part transcript piece that I posted in The Film Journal, which I was managing editor of from late ’80 to the early summer of ’83.
Fleming’s q & a is a straight-on, plain-spoken review and summary of everything Coppola is, was and hopefully will be.
Among the topics: (a) His family, luck and longevity, and his up-and-down fortunes; (b) The ongoing saga of his long-delayed, now-in-preparation Megalopolis with possible castings of Jude Law and Shia Leboeuf; (c) Absorbing summaries of the shootings and backstage battles behind The Godfather, The Godfather, Part II, Apocalypse Now and The Cotton Club; (d) Plans for a forthcoming, somewhat shorter re-edit of The Godfather, Part III (with Al Pacino‘s Michael Corleone dying inside after the shooting death of his daughter rather than toppling over on his Italian-villa patio at the finale); (e) The touch-and-go beginnings of his hugely successful wine business; (f) A slam at former MGM honcho Gary Barber for being obstinate and obstructive over the re-edit of The Cotton Club (Coppola’s tale mirrors an HE account of this episode that I posted on on 9.7.17), and (g) an announcement that with Barber now out the door The Cotton Club Encore will be screened at the forthcoming 2019 New York Film Festival and receive a limited theatrical window before going to video and streaming.
It reminds, as I noted a year and two-thirds ago, that “one good thing came out of The Cotton Club was Michael Daly‘s “The Making of The Cotton Club,” a New York magazine article that ran 22 pages including art (pgs. 41 thru 63) and hit the stands on 5.7.84.
It was one of the most engrossing accounts of a troubled production I’ve ever read, and it still is. Dazzle and delusion, abrasive relationships, murder, tap dancing, “pussy”, cocaine, flim-flam, double talk, financial chicanery and Melissa Prophet. Excellent reporting, amusing, believable, tightly composed…pure dessert.
Coppola tells Fleming about the participation of a somewhat shady guy during the Cotton Club filming, and how he surprisingly came to be Coppola’s ally in some respects. Coppola calls him “Joey” but Daly’s piece identifies him. Coppola describes him as “pretty bright and, whatever his past was, pretty nice.”
Anyway, that’s it. Totally worth reading. As good as this sort of thing gets.
It rained last night in Cannes. The current weather forecast is for rain, clouds and chilliness for the next week or so — terrific. Today’s events are (a) a press conference for The Dead Don’t Die at 11 am (which I’m not inclined to attend), (b) Alice Silverstein‘s Bull at 2 pm, (c) Ladj Ly‘s Les Miserables at 4:45 pm, and (c) Kleber Mendonça Filho‘s Bacarau at 10 pm.