|Francis Ford Coppola|
Francis Ford Coppola at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con International
April 7, 1939 |
Detroit, Michigan, United States
|Residence||Napa Valley, California, United States|
|Education||Great Neck North High School|
|Alma mater||Hofstra University
|Occupation||Film director, screenwriter, film producer|
|Home town||Woodside, Queens, New York City, New York, United States|
|Spouse(s)||Eleanor Jessie Neil
|Children||Gian-Carlo Coppola (deceased)
Italia Pennino Coppola
|Family||Talia Shire (sister)
August Coppola (brother)
Nicolas Cage (nephew)
Jason Schwartzman (nephew)
Robert Schwartzman (nephew)
Marc Coppola (nephew)
Gia Coppola (granddaughter)
The internet in hotels should be free – and I really resent it when they charge you five dollars for a bottle of water beside your bed.
I associate my motion picture career more with being unhappy and scared, or being under the gun, than with anything pleasant.
When I was sixteen or seventeen, I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be a playwright. But everything I wrote, I thought, was weak. And I can remember falling asleep in tears because I had no talent the way I wanted to have.
By working in the morning, I find a sense of peace; it's isolated peace, but I can definitely be in touch with my feelings, and then I just start.
I don't go on set with an army of people because the most expensive elements of a movie production are the plane tickets, the hotel rooms, food and gasoline. If you're willing to discover new colleagues in the place that you are, you can save a ton of money.
Ten Days That Shook The World, by Eisenstein, I went to see it, and I was so impressed with this film, so impressed with what cinema could do.
I was never sloppy with other people's money. Only my own. Because I figure, well, you can be.
I realized I probably wouldn't make another film that cuts through commercial and creative things like 'Godfather' or 'Apocalypse.'
It is a little disappointing to see that your legs are not as strong. But I like the idea of growing old, and the thought of approaching death is not particularly daunting to me.
I wanted to write and direct movies and not be forced to adapt them from a bestselling book.
I liked to work in a shop down in the basement and invent things and build gadgets.
I had a heartbreaking experience when I was 9. I always wanted to be a guard. The most wonderful girl in the world was a guard. When I got polio and then went back to school, they made me a guard. A teacher took away my guard button.
I never went to a psychologist or psychiatrist in my life. Never. You know, Italians are a little prejudiced against that kind of thing.
I was always the black sheep of the family and always told that I was dumb, and I had a low IQ and did badly in school.
I like to work in the morning. I like to sometimes go to a place where I'm all alone where I'm not going to get a phone call early that hurts my feelings, because once my feelings are hurt, I'm dead in the water.
Sound is your friend because sound is much cheaper than picture, but it has equal effect on the audience – in some ways, perhaps more effect because it does it in a very indirect way.
George Lucas doesn't have the most physical stamina. He was so unhappy making Star Wars that he just vowed he'd never do it again.
Roger Corman exploited all of the young people who worked for him, but he really gave you responsibility and opportunity. So it was kind of a fair deal.
When I do a novel, I don't really use the script, I use the book; when I did Apocalypse Now, I used Heart of Darkness. Novels usually have so much rich material.
You ought to love what you're doing because, especially in a movie, over time you really will start to hate it.
Usually, the stuff that's your best idea or work is going to be attacked the most.
I have much to learn from my daughter Sofia. Her minimalism exposes my limitations: I'm too instinctive and operatic, I put too much heart into my work, I get lost sometimes in bizarre things – it's my Italian heritage.
I became quite successful very young, and it was mainly because I was so enthusiastic and I just worked so hard at it.
I've been offered lots of movies. There's always some actor who's doing a project and would like to have me do it. But you look at the project and think, 'Gee, there are a lot of good directors who could do that.' I'd like to do something only I can do.
When newspapers started to publish the box office scores of movies, I was horrified. Those results are totally fake because they never include the promotion budget.
All of a sudden, there are great Japanese films, or great Italian films, or great Australian films. It's usually because there are a number of people that cross-pollinated each other.
When I was going for my graduate degree, I decided I was going to make a feature film as my thesis. That's what I was famous for-that I had my thesis film be a feature film, which was 'You're a Big Boy Now.'
I wrote the script of Patton. I had this very bizarre opening where he stands up in front of an American flag and gives this speech. Ultimately, I was fired. When the script was done, they hired another writer and that script was forgotten.
To make great movies, there is an element of risk. You have to say, 'Well, I am going to make this film, and it is not really a sure thing.'
People feel the worst film I made was 'Jack.' But to this day, when I get checks from old movies I've made, 'Jack' is one of the biggest ones. No one knows that. If people hate the movie, they hate the movie. I just wanted to work with Robin Williams.
I have more of a vivid imagination than I have talent. I cook up ideas. It's just a characteristic.
I gladly, I voluntarily gave up the kind of commercial film career I had going as soon as I had enough money to finance my own films.
When a movie is about to come out on its initial debut, there are a lot of people involved – the financiers, the studio and the producers and also, many times, the foreign distributors. So it is a time of tremendous pressure and uncertainty.
The only TV I would be interested in exploring would be live television. There's no substitute for a team of artists performing at their peak live when failure is possible. It's a high-wire act. That excites me.
Lots of people have criticized my movies, but nobody has ever identified the real problem: I'm a sloppy filmmaker.
The time a movie is made is unique, not only from the talent that is available but if the public was ready for it.
I think cinema, movies, and magic have always been closely associated. The very earliest people who made film were magicians.
Without a doubt, I was born to want to make cinema, but the kind of cinema I want to make is not like commercial movies, which I enjoy myself, but I wanted to be the kind of filmmaker who wrote original work, sort of like a novelist would who deals with who we are and our times or our relationships.
Frank Capra was a prop man, I think. John Ford was a prop man. It was a little bit of a father and son thing, and you kind of worked your way up.
The essence of cinema is editing. It's the combination of what can be extraordinary images of people during emotional moments, or images in a general sense, put together in a kind of alchemy.
Films and hotels have many aspects that are the same. For example, there is always a big vision, an idea.
I thought I wanted to be a playwright because I was interested in stories and telling stories.
I live near San Francisco in the most beautiful spot on earth and enjoy myself in many ways. Yes, I love to work, which for now is to think and read and write, so it's all a dream come true.
Being a former theater student, of course, there is a part of me that is fascinated with stage crafts and what you can do with illusions and working within the confines of the studio.
Most filmmakers can't afford to try something out that doesn't work.
I don't think there's any artist of any value who doesn't doubt what they're doing.
I was raised as a Catholic, but I didn't like the Catholic Church at all. I thought the nuns were mean.
'Godfather' was very classical – the way it was shot, the style – the whole driving force of it was more classical, almost Shakespearean.
My big goal in life was always to figure out how I can make a lot of money so I can go off and make films irrespective of the opinion of the three or four critics who seem to rule the roost.
Some critics are stimulating in that they make you realise how you could do better, and those are valued.
The stuff that I got in trouble for, the casting for The Godfather or the flag scene in Patton, was the stuff that was remembered, and was considered the good work.
My family were symphonic musicians and in the opera. Also, it was my era, the love of radio. We used to listen to the radio at night, close our eyes and see movies far more beautiful than you can photograph.
You have to really be courageous about your instincts and your ideas. Otherwise you'll just knuckle under, and things that might have been memorable will be lost.
I used to love going into local hardware stores, to look at little things they made locally. Nowadays it's harder, though you can still do it in Vietnam.
When I was 13, I worked for Western Union. When the telegrams came in, I would glue them on the paper and deliver them on my bicycle.
I had been a kid that moved so much, I didn't have a lot of friends. Theater really represented camaraderie.
If I have to be remembered for something, I want it remembered that I really liked children and was a good camp counselor.
I remember growing up with television, from the time it was just a test pattern, with maybe a little bit of programming once in a while.
I wanted to be a film student again, as a man in my 60s. To go someplace alone and see what you can cook up, with non-existent budgets. I didn't want to be surrounded by comforts and colleagues, which you have when when you're a big time director. I wanted to write personal works.
That's part of the requirement for me to be an artist is that you're trying to share your personal existence with others and trying to illuminate modern life, trying to understand life.
The most adventurous thing I've done is learn how to fly a helicopter in the Philippines. One night we landed on a beach and slept on it.
I landed a job with Roger Corman. The job was to write the English dialogue for a Russian science fiction picture. I didn't speak any Russian. He didn't care whether I could understand what they were saying; he wanted me to make up dialogue.
I'm no longer dependent on the movie business to make a living. So if I want to make movies as other old guys would play golf, I can.
Most Italians who came to this country are very patriotic. There was this exciting possibility that if you worked real hard, and you loved something, you could become successful.
Movie-wise, there is nothing I wouldn't do again. It's not possible to make one perfect movie every time.
I was the kind of kid that had some talents or ability, but it never came out in school.
I had an older brother who was very interested in literature, so I had an early exposure to literature, and and theater. My father sometimes would work in musical comedies.
I think it's better to be overly ambitious and fail than to be underambitious and succeed in a mundane way. I have been very fortunate. I failed upward in my life!
I had a number of very strong personalities in my family. My father was a concert flutist, the solo flute for Toscanini.
I just admire people like Woody Allen, who every year writes an original screenplay. It's astonishing. I always wished that I could do that.
I know that if a film is ready to emerge out of what I write, I'll be able to go off and make it without asking anyone's permission.
Everything I do is personal. I have never made a movie that didn't have very strong personal resonance.
The whole reason one wants to do lower budget films is because the lower the budget, the bigger the ideas, the bigger the themes, the more interesting the art.
You're in a profession in which absolutely everybody is telling you their opinion, which is different. That's one of the reasons George Lucas never directed again.
I've been blessed with enough wealth that I can make a film myself up to a certain budget. So one way I thought I would reinvent myself was just to make these very small, personal films that I've financed myself.
They needed someone to write a script of The Great Gatsby very quickly for the movie they were making. I took this job so I'd be sure to have some dough to support my family.
If you're a person who says yes most of the time, you'll find yourself in the hotel business and the restaurant business.
Steven Spielberg is unique. I feel that the kinds of movies he loves are the same kinds of movies that the big mass audience loves. He's very fortunate because he can do the things he naturally likes the best, and he's been very successful.
As long as I can make lots of money in other businesses, I'll continue to subsidize my own work.
My company and people think I'm wacky when I have an idea… I know if I have an idea, no one will want to go through it. But if I persist, people will go through it.
I was a pretty shy, lonely kid. I blossomed about age 17, when I went to college.
I always found the film world unpleasant. It's all about the schedule, and never really flew for me.
In a sense, I think a movie is really a little like a question and when you make it, that's when you get the answer.
When that happens – when risk is taken and the filmmakers dive into the subject matter without a parachute – very often what you get it something with those qualities that make it age well with the public.
I believe that filmmaking – as, probably, is everything – is a game you should play with all your cards, and all your dice, and whatever else you've got. So, each time I make a movie, I give it everything I have. I think everyone should, and I think everyone should do everything they do that way.
We were raised in an Italian-American household, although we didn't speak Italian in the house. We were very proud of being Italian, and had Italian music, ate Italian food.
'The Godfather' changed my life, for better or worse. It definitely made me have an older man's film career when I was 29.
Anyone who's made film and knows about the cinema has a lifelong love affair with the experience. You never stop learning about film.
When I was about 9, I had polio, and people were very frightened for their children, so you tended to be isolated. I was paralyzed for a while, so I watched television.
I was terrible at maths, but I could grasp science, and I used to love to read about the lives of the scientists. I wanted to be a scientist or an inventor.
Sequels are not done for the audience or cinema or the filmmakers. It's for the distributor. The film becomes a brand.
We support each other in the Coppola family. We love the idea of everyone getting his place in the sun.
I think a sequel is a waste of money and time. I think movies should illuminate new stories.
I had to get a job, and of course, the job was 'The Godfather.' That made me be something I didn't know I was going to be. I became a big-shot director.
It's ironic that at age 32, at probably the greatest moment of my career, with The Godfather having such an enormous success, I wasn't even aware of it, because I was somewhere else under the deadline again.
I've been offered lots of movies. There's always some actor who's doing a project and would like to have me do it.
We had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little, we went insane.
In kindergarten that used to be my job, to tell them fairytales. I liked Hans Christian Andersen, and the Grimm fairy tales, all the classic fairy tales.
Listen, if there's one sure-fire rule that I have learned in this business, it's that I don't know anything about human nature.
The professional world was much more unpleasant than I thought. I was always wishing I could get back that enthusiasm I had when I was doing shows at college.
A number of images put together a certain way become something quite above and beyond what any of them are individually.