Francis Ford Coppola accused of trying to kiss extras on ‘Megalopolis’ set ahead of Cannes 2024 premiere

Allegations include instances where Coppola reportedly pulled women onto his lap and attempted to kiss topless and scantily clad female extras during a nightclub scene

Published - May 15, 2024 01:32 pm IST

Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola | Photo Credit: ANGELA WEISS

Amidst the anticipation surrounding Francis Ford Coppola’s upcoming Megalopolis, set to debut at the Cannes Film Festival, recent reports from The Guardian have stirred controversy regarding Coppola’s conduct during production.

The article reveals accounts from crew members alleging Coppola’s behavior on set, particularly towards women, describing him as “old school.” Allegations include instances where Coppola reportedly pulled women onto his lap and attempted to kiss topless and scantily clad female extras during a nightclub scene, purportedly claiming it was to “get them in the mood.”

In defense of Coppola, Darren Demetre, executive co-producer of Megalopolis, refuted the claims, asserting that Coppola’s interactions were friendly gestures, and no discomfort was expressed by those involved.

“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.”

Megalopolis stands as a testament to Coppola’s dedication, with the veteran director investing $120 million of his personal funds into the project. Set in a post-catastrophic metropolis akin to New York City, the film features an ensemble cast led by Adam Driver, Giancarlo Esposito, and Nathalie Emmanuel, portraying characters embroiled in a struggle for the city’s future.

Despite Demetre’s defense, crew members depicted Coppola’s erratic behavior, citing instances of prolonged delays and disorganization on set. Some expressed astonishment, questioning Coppola’s competency as a filmmaker.

Conversely, longtime friend Mike Figgis offered a contrasting perspective, commending Coppola’s ability to manage the extensive production while simultaneously fulfilling directorial duties.

“Watching an 84-year-old guy hold together that massive team, and to have enough brains to be able to direct the actors, the camera and everything. He was up every morning making notes on his way on to the set, or he’s discussing his ideas with Roman, his son. And at the end of the day, he’s also the producer, so he’s thinking about his interest rate”, Figgis said.

Megalopolis is set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival 20224 In Competition on May 17.

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