‘Megalopolis’ First Reactions Boast That Francis Ford Coppola’s Epic Transcends Genre: ‘It’s the Craziest Thing I’ve Ever Seen’

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Francis Ford Coppola’s “Megalopolis” just may have broken the internet — and the brains of more than a few critics at Cannes.

Upon the film’s world premiere, fans and critics alike took to social media to capture the “insanity” of Coppola’s latest feature, which has been described by the auteur as a “Roman epic.” Count IndieWire’s David Ehrlich as a fan: In his review, he said that “Coppola’s wild and delirious fever dream inspires new hope for the future of movies.” The film debuted in competition at the Cannes Film Festival and is still looking for distribution, but will definitely get an IMAX release regardless.

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Adam Driver leads the feature as a pseudo alter ego of writer/director Coppola, with the Oscar-nominated actor playing an architect who envisions saving his corrupt city and transforming the metropolis into a utopia. Meanwhile, the city’s mayor (Giancarlo Esposito) clashes with Driver’s character, just as the mayor’s daughter (Nathalie Emmanuel) becomes romantically entangled with him.

Aubrey Plaza, Shia LaBeouf, Jon Voight, Laurence Fishburne, Chloe Fineman, Kathryn Hunter, Dustin Hoffman, D.B. Sweeney, Jason Schwartzman, Baily Ives, Grace Vanderwaal, and James Remar co-star.

The film has already been hailed by critics as a beacon for the future of filmmaking, with Los Angeles Times editor Matt Brennan describing the film as “an erudite work in a world that belittles expertise, a defense of nonconformity in an industry allergic to it,” even saying that the feature “reads as a closing statement from one of the cinema’s greatest artists” despite Coppola maintaining otherwise.

Vulture critic Bilge Ebiri simply called the film “the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.”

The “Megalopolis” production underwent an overhaul in December 2022, with a majority of the visual effects and art teams parting ways with the project. A report in January 2023 confirmed that visual effects production supervisor Mark Russell, production designer Beth Mickle, and supervising art director David Scott had left “Megalopolis,” with the VFX team also exiting. A source told IndieWire that creative differences between Coppola and select crew members led to their respective departures that were either being fired or quitting.

The creative team switch-up further prompted a statement from the Art Directors Guild that it would be looking into the situation to “ensure proper staffing and scheduling.” New production designer Bradley Rubin of “The Mandalorian” and “A Star Is Born” fame was later brought on board.

Yet the rumors of “chaos” on set inspired led actor Driver to defend the filming process.

“All good here! Not sure what set you’re talking about! I don’t recognize that one! I’ve been on sets that were chaotic and this one is far from it,” Driver said in a statement to IndieWire. “The environment that’s being created by Francis, is one of focus and inspiration. As of now, we’re on schedule, making our days, and honestly, it’s been one of the best shooting experiences I’ve had. Our crew is fast and inventive, our costume department is on point, the actors are incredible and willing, and Francis is one of the most insightful and caring people to work with. I’m very proud to be making this movie with him, and them, and though I haven’t interviewed everyone, I can confidently say that that’s the general attitude on set.”

Driver later told Paste that “Megalopolis” was “one of the most exciting things that I’ve ever been a part of” and was “one of the best shooting experiences I’ve had.”

Writer/director Coppola said to Deadline in 2023 that while “Megalopolis” is a “big, difficult movie” to make, there were no issues in production.

“A rumor starts out; there was a report about chaos. But the source was no source,” Coppola said. “From my point of view, I was on schedule, which, on a big, difficult movie, is hard to do. I love my actors, and there is not one of them I would change. The movie has a style that went beyond my expectations. That’s sincerely how I feel.”

Check out the first reactions to “Megalopolis” below and read the IndieWire review here.

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