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‘Godfather’ director accused of being ‘old school’ around women on set of new film

“Godfather” director Francis Ford Coppola allegedly has an “old school” approach to filmmaking and women.

His most recent, and possibly final film, “Megalopolis,” premiered at Cannes last month. Before that, reports began to surface about a troubled set.

The Guardian published a report in May alleging a series of issues behind the scenes, including his behavior toward several female extras.

Several sources told the outlet Coppola could be “old school,” allegedly pulling women to sit on his lap.

Close up of Francis Ford Coppola

A report from The Guardian included allegations Francis Ford Coppola was “old school” in his behavior toward women on set of his film “Megalopolis.” (Stephane Cardinale/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

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They also claimed that during filming of a nightclub party scene, the 85-year-old tried to kiss some of the female extras who were topless or in skimpy costumes. According to their claims, he was “trying to get them in the mood.”

In a statement to The Guardian, “Megalopolis” executive co-producer Darren Demetre said, “I have known and worked with Francis and his family for over 35 years. As one of the first assistant directors and an executive producer on his new epic, ‘Megalopolis,’ I helped oversee and advise the production and ran the second unit. Francis successfully produced and directed an enormous independent film, making all the difficult decisions to ensure it was delivered on time and on budget, while remaining true to his creative vision.

“There were two days when we shot a celebratory Studio 54-esque club scene where Francis walked around the set to establish the spirit of the scene by giving kind hugs and kisses on the cheek to the cast and background players. It was his way to help inspire and establish the club atmosphere, which was so important to the film. I was never aware of any complaints of harassment or ill behavior during the course of the project.”

Representatives for Coppola did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment about the report.

Francis Ford Coppola standing on stage and waving to audience

In a statement to The Guardian, “Megalopolis” executive co-producer Darren Demetre said Coppola “walked around the set to establish the spirit of the scene by giving kind hugs and kisses on the cheek to the cast and background players.” (Christophe Simon/AFP via Getty Images)

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Coppola was recently profiled in The New York Times, and he was asked about The Guardian’s report.

He began speaking about his mother, Italia, first describing her as looking like glamorous Hollywood icon Hedy Lamarr and then saying, “But my mother told me that if you make an advance toward a woman, it means you disrespect her, and the girls I had crushes on, I certainly didn’t disrespect them.”

Coppola added that there was a photo of one of the “girls” he kissed on the cheek, taken by her father, saying he “knew her when she was 9.”  It’s unclear from the article if he’s referring to a girl he had a childhood crush on or a woman on set he allegedly kissed.

“I’m not touchy-feely,” Coppola told the outlet. “I’m too shy.”

Francis Ford Coppola holding out his hat on the red carpet

When asked about The Guardian report, Coppola told The New York Times, “I’m not touchy-feely. I’m too shy.” (Loic Venance/AFP via Getty Images)

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“Megalopolis” is Coppola’s first film in 13 years and his 23rd overall. He spent $120 million of his own money for the epic and has been working on it for decades.

Set in a futuristic New York, the film follows an architect, played by Adam Driver, who has a grand vision of a more harmonious metropolis who also happens to be able to start and stop time.

The film also stars Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Laurence Fishburne, Shia LaBeouf, Giancarlo Esposito, Aubrey Plaza and Nathalie Emmanuel. 

According to The Associated Press, reviews from Cannes ranged from, “a folly of gargantuan proportions” to “the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.” 

Francis Ford Coppola and Adam Driver posing together

Francis Ford Coppola and Adam Driver (Rocco Spaziani/Archivio Spaziani/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

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The Guardian’s report also detailed the years-long process of bringing the film to life, including clashes between his most classical approach, “finding magic in the moment,” versus modern digital and CGI filmmaking needs.

“I think Coppola still lives in this world where, as an auteur, you’re the only one who knows what’s happening, and everybody else is there just to do what he asks them to do,” a crew member who wished to remain anonymous told the outlet.

Other sources from the crew said Coppola’s vision was constantly changing, making visual effects preparation and collaboration difficult.

Another crew member spoke of wasted time on set, and sources claimed he was dedicated to using practical effects over digital ones, spending “literally half of a day on what could have been done in 10 minutes.”

Close up of Francis Ford Coppola

Other details from The Guardian allege Coppola and some of the technical team didn’t work together well.   (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

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In January 2023, The Hollywood Reporter reported that the entire visual effects team was either fired or quit in December 2022, followed by the departure of some other key positions like the production designer and supervising art director.

“Megalopolis” completed filming in March last year and is dedicated to Coppola’s late wife, Eleanor Coppola.

A U.S. release date has not been set as the film seeks domestic distribution, though it has already been acquired for some European territories.


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