“I couldn’t get anyone to take me seriously”: The Godfather Director Fired His Special Effects Team for $216M Movie With Keanu Reeves to Hire His 25 Year Old Son

The Godfather Director Fired His Special Effects Team for $216M Movie With Keanu Reeves to Hire His 25 Year Old Son
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Francis Ford Coppola’s filmmaking has been a sublime contribution to the craft of cinema. Perhaps most famous for his Godfather saga, a critically acclaimed trilogy that not only altered but completely revolutionized the legacy of the genre of crime fiction, Coppola’s directorial efforts have certainly left a sizeable imprint on the film industry.

Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola

Even projects that marked a conspicuous fluctuation in his otherwise meticulous routine of gangster films, thrillers, and dramas, ended up being sensational hits, like Keanu Reeves-led Bram Stoker’s Dracula. But that didn’t mean the road to the film’s success was an easy trek, especially for someone who’d ventured off on a relatively unconventional path with such a big leap genre-wise.

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Bringing ‘Dracula’ to Life Called for Firing Employees

When Francis Ford Coppola envisioned adapting Bram Stoker’s epistolary novel into a film, he never imagined the project would thrive to such a drastic extent that it did. A certified cult classic and a marvelous adaptation of the iconic horror tale, if there ever was one, Bram Stoker’s Dracula did exceptionally well, both critically and commercially. But only Coppola (and the VFX crew that he fired) knows just how much labor went into the making of the masterpiece that the movie was.

A visionary himself, Coppola, 84, wanted to do justice to the source material, adamant about creating the film “the way that the earliest cinema practitioners would have.” That in turn meant using practical effects instead of any garish special effects that would’ve dwindled the script’s true essence.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

His crew, on the other hand, wasn’t ready to take the five-time Oscar winner seriously, and so the Apocalypse Now director did the only thing that he could think of – he kicked the special effects department off the project. But perhaps what’s more interesting is who he replaced them with.


“In the script, there were a million effects, but I wanted to do them all live. Nothing in post-production; do them all in the camera. I couldn’t get anyone to take me seriously, so I fired the special effects department and hired my young son, Roman, who was an enthusiast about magic.”

Well, it’s safe to say, whatever magic father and son weaved, it definitely worked.

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Roman Coppola – the ‘Real Hero’ of the 1992 Film

Roman Coppola had only been 24 at the time when his father beckoned him aboard the movie starring Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, and Keanu Reeves. A magic enthusiast, as the director/producer earlier remarked, Roman was the perfect fit and the only one who could’ve possibly assisted Coppola in breathing the gothic tale to life.


“Roman was a real hero of Dracula. He was only 24 or something when we made it. I thought he was going to win an Oscar for what he did.”

Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker and Gary Oldman as Count Dracula

See also: “I wasn’t as critical of him”: Oscar Winning Director Francis Ford Admits Keanu Reeves Needed Criticism While Playing Dracula, Says the John Wick Star Tried Too Hard

If the enthralling effects of the film are anything to go by, then Coppola’s son certainly deserved an accolade to honor his toils and talent. And while it would’ve certainly been at least a little upsetting for a father to see his son’s efforts go unrecognized, the film itself won three Academy Awards, and that’s definitely a commendable feat.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula can be rented/purchased on Amazon Instant Video or Apple Tv+.


Source: Entertainment Weekly


Written by Khushi Shah

Articles Published: 819

With a prolific knowledge of everything pop culture and a strong penchant for writing, Khushi has penned over 700 articles during her time as an author at FandomWire.
An abnormal psychology student and an fervent reader of dark fiction, her most trusted soldiers are coffee and a good book.