‘Megalopolis’ Executive Producer Responds to Report That Francis Ford Coppola Kissed Extras on Set

by 24USATVMay 15, 2024, 5 a.m. 21
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Megalopolis executive co-producer Darren Demetre denied claims published this week that director Francis Ford Coppola tried to kiss female extras while on set.

“I was never aware of any complaints of harassment or ill behaviour during the course of the project,” Demetre told The Hollywood Reporter in response to reports in The Guardian that alleged that Coppola demonstrated “old school” behavior around women while on set of his Megalopolis passion project.

Specifically, the report cited sources who said Coppola pulled women to sit on his lap and tried to kiss several topless or scantily clad female extras while filming a nightclub scene.

“I have known and worked with Francis and his family for over 35 years,” Demetre said. “As one of the first assistant directors and an executive producer on his new epic, Megalopolis, I helped oversee and advise the production and ran the second unit. Francis successfully produced and directed an enormous independent film, making all the difficult decisions to ensure it was delivered on time and on budget, while remaining true to his creative vision. There were two days when we shot a celebratory Studio 54-esque club scene where Francis walked around the set to establish the spirit of the scene by giving kind hugs and kisses on the cheek to the cast and background players. It was his way to help inspire and establish the club atmosphere, which was so important to the film. I was never aware of any complaints of harassment or ill behaviour during the course of the project.”

Megalopolis is Coppola’s much-discussed, self-funded epic which has been in the works for four decades. The director first began writing the project in 1983, and sold a portion of his wine empire in 2021 to self-fund the $120 million project.

The movie, a Roman epic re-told in sci-fi America, will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on May 17, though it still does not have a North American distributor (he secured foreign distribution last week).

The film’s first trailer released on Monday, featuring Adam Driver as an idealist architect up against Giancarlo Esposito as a pragmatist mayor. The cast also includes Nathalie Emmanuel, Aubrey Plaza, Shia LaBeouf, Jon Voight, Jason Schwartzman, Laurence Fishburne, Kathryn Hunter, Grace VanderWaal, Chloe Fineman, James Remar, D.B. Sweeney and Dustin Hoffman.

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