Coppola breaks down her On the Rocks car chase with Murray, Rashida Jones, and a red Alfa Romeo.

On the Rocks

If, from inside the warm confines of a darkened megaplex playing the latest Fast & Furious sequel, you've ever leaned over to your best dudefriend during a wild chase scene and gently whispered, "Bro, I would like to see Sofia Coppola do this someday," On the Rocks has just the scene for you!

Around halfway through her new comedy, the writer-director does something she's never attempted before, and flexes her inner Michael Bay muscles (well, not quite, but you get the idea) over a scene that sees stars Bill Murray and Rashida Jones careening through the streets of New York City in a red vintage Alfa Romeo convertible. It's a remarkably kinetic scene for a director best known for telling poignant stories through silent gestures, and Coppola tells EW it was a personal feat in itself for her as a filmmaker.

"It’s really hard to shoot in cars, and after other movies where I shot inside cars, I was like, I’m never going to do it again, I know better than to do that! But, I couldn’t help it," Coppola says of composing the film, about a writer, Laura (Jones), who enlists the help of her playboy father, Felix (Murray), to tail her corporate-minded husband, Dean (Marlon Wayans), whom she suspects of having an affair.

The scene in tracks Laura and Felix's high-speed, secretive pursuit after Dean leaves a bar with a group of coworkers, with both cars careening through red lights, past Manhattan landmarks — and, while dialogue scenes utilized a rig, that's all Murray indulging his need for speed in the free-wheeling shots.

"It was a nightmare to shoot. Poor Bill and Rashida were out all night in a car," Coppola jokes. "It’s funny because I kept [calling it] ‘our action sequence,’ and my brother, Roman, came in to help shoot it, and he’s like, ‘That’s barely an action sequence!’ But, for me, I kept thinking of it as the car chase scene! It’s the most action I’ve ever done. We shot all night, we only had one night, and it was crazy. Thank God Bill is a good driver, and Rashida was a really brave, good sport about it!"

On The Rocks
Credit: Apple TV+

As wild as the shoot got, the Oscar-winning Lost in Translation helmer still finds a way to ground the moment in her signature, subtle thematics: "I just thought it was very Felix to pick the most indiscreet car. I thought he might race an old, impractical car on the weekend. It’s the embodiment of his spirit!" she explains. "[These moments in the car] a little cocoon to all the hustle and bustle of the city, to be in his little world driving around the streets of New York."

On the Rocks — which world-premiered Tuesday night at the New York Film Festival to positive critical reviews — drives into awards season (and select theaters) on Oct. 2, followed by an Oct. 23 streaming debut on Apple TV+ via A24. Check out EW's full preview with Coppola.

Related content: 

On the Rocks
  • Movie