Francis Ford Coppola

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Francis Ford Coppola : biography

7 April 1939 –

Coppola’s surviving son, Roman Coppola, is a filmmaker and music video director whose filmography includes the feature film CQ and music videos for The Strokes, as well as co-writing two Wes Anderson films, The Darjeeling Limited and Moonrise Kingdom. He was also second-unit director on Bram Stokers Dracula.Roman Coppola – IMDb

Coppola often works with family members in his films: He cast his two sons in The Godfather as extras during the street fight scene involving Sonny and Carlo Rizzi and at Vito Corleone’s funeral.

His sister, Talia Shire, played Connie Corleone in all three Godfather films.

His father Carmine, a composer and professional musician, co-wrote much of the music for The Godfather, The Godfather Part II (for which he received an Oscar for Best Music, Original Dramatic Score, shared with Nino Rota) and The Godfather Part III (for which he was nominated for another Oscar for Best Original Song) and Apocalypse Now (for which he was nominated for a BAFTA Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music). In addition, Carmine and his wife Italia appear as the couple in the elevator scene in One from the Heart.

Coppola’s nephew, Nicolas Cage, son of his brother, the academic August Coppola, starred in Coppola’s film Peggy Sue Got Married and was featured in Rumble Fish and The Cotton Club.

Other famous members of Coppola’s family include nephews Jason Schwartzman and Robert Schwartzman, sons of Talia Shire. Jason Schwartzman has starred in several films, including Rushmore and Slackers. He also co-wrote (along with director Wes Anderson and cousin Roman Coppola) and starred in the 2007 film The Darjeeling Limited. Robert Schwartzman is the lead singer in the band Rooney and appeared in The Princess Diaries as well as having small appearances in several films, including his cousin Sofia’s The Virgin Suicides.

An interesting insight into Coppola’s attitudes and feelings was given when answering the standard Bernard Pivot questions at the conclusion of his interview episode of the Inside the Actors Studio TV programme (Season 7, Episode 14):

  • What is your favourite word?: Hope – speranza
  • What is your least favourite word?: No
  • What turns you on?: Life, everything
  • What turns you off?: For insurance purposes, kids can’t go. I don’t know the word. I hate it so much I don’t even know it
  • What sound or noise do you love?: The flute
  • What sound or noise do you hate?: A gasoline leaf-blower
  • What is your favourite curse-word?: I don’t have a favourite curse word. If I curse in front of a woman, I give her $1.
  • What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?: Architect
  • What profession would you absolutely not like to do?: Executioner
  • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?: Welcome

Commercial ventures

American Zoetrope

In 1971, Coppola and George Lucas co-produced the latter’s first film, THX 1138. Shortly after completion of production they brought the finished film to Warner Bros., along with several other scripts for potential projects at their newly-founded company, American Zoetrope. However, studio executives strongly disliked all the scripts, including THX and demanded that Coppola repay the $300,000 they had loaned him for the Zoetrope studio, as well as insisting on cutting five minutes from the film. The debt nearly closed Zoetrope and forced Coppola to ("reluctantly") focus on The Godfather.

Zoetrope Virtual Studio

His company American Zoetrope also administers the innovative Zoetrope Virtual Studio, a complete motion picture production studio for members only. Launched in June 2000, the culmination of more than four years work, it brings together departments for screenwriters, directors, producers and other filmmaker artists, plus new departments for other creative endeavours, offering powerful e-collaborative tools. Filmmaker members can workshop a wide range of film arts, including music, graphics, design and film & video.