“He’s gone full Marlon Brando”: Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis is Repeating His Nightmarish Apocalypse Now Filming Amid Concerning Reports

Francis Ford Coppola’s on-set behavior in Megalopolis caused production turmoil similar to Marlon Brando's during his Apocalypse Now days.

megalopolis, apocalypse now

SUMMARY

  • Francis Ford Coppola’s behavior on the set of Megalopolis echoed the chaotic production of Apocalypse Now and Marlon Brando’s infamous unpredictability.
  • Coppola’s approach to filmmaking, characterized by a lack of planning, led to significant delays and frustration among cast and crew.
  • Despite all of this, the stars of his movie have defended the allegations.
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Every production that airs on screens in Hollywood has two stories – one that it portrays and another that happened behind the scenes. Famed for filming award-winning movies like The Godfather, The Conversation, and Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola stands tall in the list of acclaimed filmmakers. However, he has seen days where his projects nearly went to a loss due to concerning behaviors from his actors like Marlon Brando and now is having a similar impact on his own movies because of none but his own behavior.

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Francis Ford Coppola in his early days (via Wikimedia Commons)
Francis Ford Coppola in his early days (via Wikimedia Commons, Bernard Gotfryd)

A string of reports from the sets of the upcoming ambitious leap from the director, Megalopolis, has added a layer of disbelief. Renowned for his cinematography, vision, and dedication to the craft, crew admissions have held him accountable for nearly ruining the flick’s shooting. Ironically, all of it mirrors largely what he faced himself during the filming of his 1979 movie starring Brando.

Francis Ford Coppola nearly sabotaged Megalopolis

Adam Driver in a still from Megalopolis
Adam Driver in a still from Megalopolis

First conceived in 1977 and revived only in 2019, Megalopolis stands not only as one of the most passionate projects from Francis Ford Coppola but also as one of his riskiest ventures yet. Despite such high stakes, a report from the Guardian highlighted the cast and crew speaking up on his unpredictable behavior where “hours & hours would go by without anything being filmed.” Additionally, the same anonymous reports spoke of the director’s approach as a clash between his “old-school approach” and hopes of “finding magic in the moment”.

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“He would often show up in the mornings before these big sequences and because no plan had been put in place, and because he wouldn’t allow his collaborators to put a plan in place, he would often just sit in his trailer for hours on end, wouldn’t talk to anybody, was often smoking marijuana.”

Concerning reports also mentioned the cast having to wait for him for extended periods of time. Moreover, he allegedly also “didn’t follow anything anybody had spoken about or anything that was on the page” and handed out impromptu decisions which others had to fit in as per their best rationale. Additional charges also labeled him as being “unpleasant” towards crew who wanted to amp up the process, oftentimes risking putting the entire process in jeopardy.

Interestingly, during his prime career, similar conditions surrounded him as he ran the risk of losing immensely, both financially and critically.

Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now once troubled the director

One of the most influential and acclaimed actors of all time, Marlon Brando, landed the role of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Released in 1979, the movie had a series of flaws that plagued its productions behind the scenes.

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To start with, the Godfather actor had a history of being unpredictable and difficult to manage. For one, he arrived on set overweight and unprepared, which added challenges for filming such as using black backgrounds.

Marlon Brando in a still from Apocalypse Now
Marlon Brando in a still from Apocalypse Now

Suffering from nervous breakdowns and other health issues, Brando often refused to read and memorize his lines even when Coppola went into his trailer and offered to read them for him. Additionally, he insisted on staying in his trailer and improvising everything, which added to severe troubles for the director. Decades later, now the filmmaker is allegedly repeating the same issues with Megalopolis even if his actors like Aubrey Plaza have defended the allegations.

Apocalypse Now is available to rent or purchase on Amazon Video, Apple TV, Google Play Movies, Microsoft Store, Vudu, and YouTube.

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Written by Imteshal Karim

Articles Published: 29

Bearing a penchant for writing in multiple forms, I love telling a good story and hope to tell impactful ones about the fandom's side of the Entertainment industry. I found the movie of my life in Christopher Nolan's 2014' s Interstellar, which fascinated me with the perfect blend of science and cinema, leaving me curious about Hollywood. In my leisure time, you will find me indulging in photography, gardening, and cycling.