Legendary Godfather and Apocolypse Now filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola chatted with Bright Lights, Big City author Jay McInerney this week as part of the Tribeca Film Festival’s Tribeca Talks series.
“We’re not gonna talk about wine,” said Coppola, whose latter-day career as a California vintner has been — shall we say — fruitful. But he added, “My wineries, thanks to all of you, do very well. I think you should all be credited as associate producers on whatever films I do make.”
Lately, he hasn’t been making any. The 77-year-old’s current interest lies in a secretive project called Distant Vision, a “live cinema” concept for which he’s conducting experimental workshops on college campuses. In attempting to explain the idea, Coppola mentioned the recent live-television versions of Grease or NBC’s upcoming A Few Good Men. “If they came to me,” he said, “the movie I’d want to do is Lawrence of Arabia.”
Coppola was at his best discussing his most famous films. He admits that he was “so frightened” while making Apocalypse Now — both because of the movie’s tremendous scope and how much he was putting on the line. “I had a $32 million loan at 29 percent with everything I had amassed up against it.”
And he was so depressed, he said, “I had won five Oscars [one for co-writing Patton, one for co-writing The Godfather, and three for co-writing, directing and producing The Godfather: Part II] and no one would let me do Apocalypse. I was so mad that I took the five Oscars and I threw them out the window of my house. And they landed down in the garden, all mangled. They’re just dross, by the way.”
He eventually got the five statuettes back — to find out how, take a look at the clip above.