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We’ve reached the crew quitting, budgets exploding part of Megalopolis’ production

Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis is in trouble as it goes through the pains of being a Francis Ford Coppola production

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Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola
Photo: Emma McIntyre (Getty Images)

Cineastes jumped for joy when Francis Ford Coppola announced his intentions to sell his multi-million dollar winery to fund his long-gestating passion project, Megalopolis. But, unfortunately, there comes a time in every Francis Ford Coppola production when it becomes apparent that this is still a Francis Ford Coppola production. Much like Apocalypse Now, The Cotton Club, One From The Heart, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Coppola’s ambition is bumping up against the realities of making movies with other living, breathing people.

Halfway through production, Megalopolis is currently in turmoil, per In early December, The Hollywood Reporter. Coppola reportedly fired most of his visual effects team, with the rest resigning shortly after. If that wasn’t bad enough for a film that was to be shot with the same high-tech greenscreen technology used on The Mandalorian, production designer Beth Mickle and supervising art director David Scott have also booked a ticket to leave Megalopolis. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that “being on the set is madness.”

Apparently, that Mandalorian volume stage is pretty expensive, pushing the already mega-priced movie over budget. Coppola sunk $120 million of his own money into this thing, so the remaining crew is looking into more traditional greenscreen techniques to finish the film. “There’s no good answer here,” a production executive told The Hollywood Reporter. “[Coppola] is going to spend a lot more money than he intended. You can imagine how much he’s already got invested. It would be a very bitter pill not to finish it.”

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None of these woes are too surprising, though. Coppola fired his visual effects supervisor on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Hollywood Reporter notes. Yet, the effects in Dracula are among the film’s most striking and impressive elements. Coppola also famously sent his cast into the heart of darkness on the set of Apocalypse Now. The shoot, which took place in the Philippines, had a litany of problems, including severe weather, grave robbers bringing real corpses to set, and Martin Sheen suffering a near-fatal heart attack. Coppola’s wife, Elanor, captured the whole thing in the documentary Hearts Of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, which says everything one needs to know about the three-year struggle to get that on the screen.

It remains to be seen whether Coppola will deliver another masterpiece. He hasn’t released a feature since 2011’s Twixt, but it would be disappointing if his latest and potentially final film fell apart at the halfway mark.