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Francis Ford Coppola smoked weed in his trailer, didn’t film anything for hours on ‘Megalopolis’

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Francis Ford Coppola reportedly “smoked marijuana” for hours on end on the set of his new film Megalopolis, without ever getting round to filming any scenes.

The Godfather and Apocalypse Now director is preparing for the world premiere of the film at the Cannes Film Festival this week (May 17), but a new report suggests that many on the film’s crew were left frustrated and confused by his unconventional filmmaking techniques.

Speaking anonymously to the Guardian, one crew member explained: “He would often show up in the mornings before these big sequences and because no plan had been put in place, and because he wouldn’t allow his collaborators to put a plan in place, he would often just sit in his trailer for hours on end, wouldn’t talk to anybody, was often smoking marijuana … And hours and hours would go by without anything being filmed.”

“And the crew and the cast would all stand around and wait. And then he’d come out and whip up something that didn’t make sense, and that didn’t follow anything anybody had spoken about or anything that was on the page, and we’d all just go along with it, trying to make the best out of it. But pretty much every day, we’d just walk away shaking our heads wondering what we’d just spent the last 12 hours doing.”

Another crew member went further: “This sounds crazy to say, but there were times when we were all standing around going, ‘Has this guy ever made a movie before?’”

The first teaser clip from the film was released earlier this month. It shows Adam Driver’s character Cesar Catilina teetering on the roof of a skyscraper. As he nears the edge, he appears to think of jumping, and as gravity is about to take hold, he cries out, “Time stop”. We see the cars on the street below pause in time, until Catilina decides to let them move again.

That has now been followed up with a formal trailer, which you can watch below:

The film is also set to star Aubrey PlazaShia LaBeouf, Jon Voight, Jason Schwartzman, Laurence Fishburne and Dustin Hoffman.

Megalopolis has been a passion project for Coppola since the early 1980s, but has continually been faced with financial challenges. With major studios hesitant to invest, Coppola eventually chose to fund the film himself, selling personal assets, including portions of his wine empire.

An official synopsis of the film reads: “The City of New Rome must change, causing conflict between Cesar Catilina, a genius artist who seeks to leap into a utopian, idealistic future, and his opposition, Mayor Franklyn Cicero (Giancarlo Esposito), who remains committed to a regressive status quo, perpetuating greed, special interests and partisan warfare.”

“Torn between them is socialite Julia Cicero (Nathalie Emmanuel), the mayor’s daughter, whose love for Cesar has divided her loyalties, forcing her to discover what she truly believes humanity deserves.”

Coppola screened the finished film for a number of major studio heads in March, including those from UniversalNetflix and Sony, but the film is still without a distribution deal. Reports of early reactions to the film from major industry figures have ranged from those who “liked it enormously” to those who dismissed it, saying “it’s so not good” (via The Hollywood Reporter).

The director’s last released film was 2011’s Twixt.

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