Francis Ford Coppola began shooting his passion project, the sci-fi epic Megalopolis, late last year, but it looks like production is getting a little out of control. Several sources have told THR that the set has descended into chaos, with the budget expanding out of control and key creative talent stepping down, not to mention Coppola firing the entire visual effects team back in December.
Francis Ford Coppola started writing Megalopolis in the 1980s, but recognized that it would require an enormous budget to match its massive scale, so it was shelved for decades. The director made waves when he said he would finance 120 million dollars the film itself, but that budget has grown significantly halfway through production. A source was never sure if filming could go ahead as planned. Another big blow is the exit of production designer Beth Mickles and senior art director David Scott, and a source said that between layoffs and resignations, “the film now has no art department.” In a statement, a spokesperson for the Art Directors Guild said, “The Art Directors Guild supports all art departments to ensure proper staffing and planning and is currently examining the situation with Megalopolis to determine next steps. We have no further comments at this time.“
Megalopolis also has more visual effects than Francis Ford Coppola has done before, which includes using the same virtual production technology used on shows such as The Mandalorian. Instead of continuing with that method, sources say the rest of the production may switch to the more traditional greenscreen method, but regardless, sources say Coppola will have to spend a lot more money than he intended. It’s unclear why, but Coppola fired nearly the entire visual effects team on December 9, with the rest following suit soon after. Despite all the exits, Coppola is said to be working on hiring new staff.
The film features quite an ensemble cast including Adam Driver, Nathalie Emmanuel, Forest Whitaker, Laurence Fishburne, Jon Voight, Talia Shire, Shia LaBeouf, Jason Schwartzman and Dustin Hoffman. Megalopolis centers on an architect who seeks to rebuild New York City as a utopia after a disaster. Francis Ford Coppola is no stranger to out-of-control productions, with Apocalypse now still stands as the most famous example, but I hope he can get it Megalopolis back on track.