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Director Francis Ford Coppola shares the first teaser trailer from his passion project Megalopolis, featuring Adam Driver and Nathalie Emmanuel

The Francis Ford Coppola passion project Megalopolis, an idea the 85-year-old filmmaker says has been brewing in his mind for around half of his life, is set to have its world premiere at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival. In anticipation of the Cannes screening, the maestro himself, Coppola, has released our first look at some of the movie’s footage. Just a few days ago, Vanity Fair unveiled an image from the film that features the characters played by Adam Driver and Nathalie Emmanuel:

Coppola began writing Megalopolis in the 1980s but knew that it would require a huge budget, so he kept it on a shelf for decades – before deciding to push it into production (and retain creative control) by funding it out of his own pocket, reportedly dropping upwards of $120 million into it. He sold off part of his winery estate in Northern California to raise that much money. The story digs into what happens when an accident causes the destruction of a New York City-like metropolis that is decaying anyway, bringing clashing visions of the future. On one side is an ambitious architectural idealist Caesar. On the other is his sworn enemy, city Mayor Frank Cicero. The debate becomes whether to embrace the future and build a utopia with renewable materials, or take a business-as-usual rebuild strategy, replete with concrete, corruption and power brokering at the expense of a restless underclass. In between their struggle is the mayor’s socialite daughter Julia, a restless young woman who grew up around power and tires of being a tabloid fixture looking for meaning in her life.

In addition to Driver and Emmanuel, the cast includes Forest Whitaker, Giancarlo Esposito, Jon Voight, Laurence Fishburne, Aubrey Plaza, Shia LaBeouf, Chloe Fineman, Kathryn Hunter, Dustin Hoffman, DB Sweeney, Talia Shire, Jason Schwartzman, Bailey Ives, Grace Vanderwaal, and James Remar.

Speaking with Vanity Fair, Coppola said that the story was inspired by an attempted coup in ancient Rome, back in 63 BC. He decided to update the scenario and set it in a near present day, somewhat stylized New York City. He also drew inspiration from various events that took place in the history of New York City: “the Claus von Bülow murder case, the Mary Cunningham–William Agee Bendix scandal, the emergence of Maria Bartiromo, the antics of Studio 54, and the city’s financial crisis,” so that everything in the movie is based on something that really happened in either ancient Rome or NYC.

While putting together an allegorical epic, the filmmaker also made sure the film would have a personal feeling to it. He said, “My first goal always is to make a film with all my heart, so I began to realize it would be about love and loyalty in every aspect of human life. Megalopolis echoed these sentiments, in which love was expressed in almost crystalline complexity, our planet in danger and our human family almost in an act of suicide, until becoming a very optimistic film that has faith in the human being to possess the genius to heal any problem put before us.” He’s hoping the finished film will “become a New Year’s Eve perennial favorite, with audiences discussing afterwards not their new diets or resolutions not to smoke, but rather this simple question: ‘Is the society in which we live the only one available to us?’

To hear more about Megalopolis and Coppola’s inspirations, click over to the Vanity Fair article.

Are you looking forward to Megalopolis? What do you think of the first teaser? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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