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Everything to Know About Francis Ford Coppola’s “Dream Project,” Megalopolis


Francis Ford Coppola's Megalopolis movie
Samir Hussein/WireImage/John Shearer/Getty Images/Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli / Getty Images

Twenty years in the making and finally, Francis Ford Coppola is ready to start production on what has been called his “dream project.” Megalopolis, a Roman epic set in modern times, written by Coppola himself, has been in the works for decades. Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. said he saw early footage of the movie back in 2001, but 9/11 then derailed the project. Eventually, Coppola decided he was going to take matters into his own hands, selling off a stake of his wine empire to self-finance the film, which has a budget of around $100 million. So, it’s safe to say that there’s a lot riding on Megalopolis, and with production starting this fall, more information on the highly-anticipated project will likely continue to emerge. For now, here’s everything you need to know about Coppola’s latest film.

Who will star in Megalopolis?

It was just announced that Aubrey Plaza has signed on to star in Megalopolis, meaning she will join the already-packed cast that was previously attached to the movie. As of now, Adam Driver, Forest Whitaker, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jon Voight, and Laurence Fishburne (who worked with Coppola back in 1979 on Apocalypse Now when he was just a teenager) will star in the film as well.

What is Megalopolis about?

The logline for Megaloplis is fairly vague at this point. Deadline has described the film as an “epic story of political ambition, genius and conflicted love” set in “a modern world unable to solve its own social problems.” Coppola has said the film is “a Roman epic, in the traditional Cecile B. DeMille or Ben-Hur way, but told as a modern counterpart focusing on America.” He was inspired by the Catiline Conspiracy, an attempted coup conducted by Lucius Sergius Catiline to overthrow the Roman consuls, including Marcus Cicero, in 63 BC. In the film Isaac will play Catiline, while Whitaker will play Cicero. Since Megalopolis is a modern retelling of this story, in the movie Cicero is “the beleaguered mayor of New York, during a financial crisis, close to the one that Mayor Dinkins had,” according to Coppola.

What else has Coppola said about Megalopolis?

Coppola realizes that Megalopolis isn’t going to look like a lot of the movies that are popular at the moment, but he believes it will be “an exciting change.” Back in 2021, Coppola spoke to Deadline about his hopes for the film. He said he’s not looking for more Oscars or to make money, he just wants to start conversations. “Somewhere down the line, way after I’m gone, all I want is for them to discuss [Megalopolis] and, is the society we’re living in the only one available to us?” he said. “What the movie really is proposing is that utopia is not a place. It’s how can we make everything better? Every year, come up with two, three or four ideas that make it better. I would be smiling in my grave if I thought something like that happened, because people talk about what movies really mean if you give them something.”