It was only a couple of months ago when we learned the disappointing news that Oscar Isaac was no longer attached to star in Megalopolis, writer/director Francis Ford Coppola‘s self-funded, decades-in-the-making, surely-epic, nearly $100 million passion project. While the project suffered quite a blow with the Moon Knight actor’s departure, the legendary filmmaker behind The Godfather trilogy didn’t have much trouble finding a replacement. As it was announced earlier today, Adam Driver is signed on to star in Coppola‘s long-gesturing (potential) swan song, and the Marriage Story actor will be joined by Forest Whitaker, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jon Voight, and Laurence Fishburne, the latter finally reuniting with Coppola after making his film debut in Apocalypse Now.
As Deadline notes, Megalopolis is a sweeping contemporary drama that has been described as such: “The fate of Rome haunts a modern world unable to solve its own social problems in this epic story of political ambition, genius, and conflicting interests.” The story has been summarized in the past as “a struggle to create a utopia after an accident leaves a New York-like city in need of a rebuild.” Certainly, this is among the grandest and most ambitious works that the acclaimed filmmaker has set out to make, and by his own admission, the ones that are the riskiest and most taxing stand up the best over time. As the stories behind the making of The Godfather, as recently detailed in Paramount+‘s mini-series, The Offer, and Apocalypse Now have shown, it’s not easy to make a masterpiece. Coppola’s tireless desire to bring Megalopolis to the big screen suggests that the latest film from the 83-year-old cinematic titan could end Coppola‘s esteemed career on a high note — assuming, of course, that it matches his grand ambitions. It’s not hard to see the parallels between Coppola‘s next film and the characters found within.
Ultimately, as Coppola has noted several times in the past, his pursuit with Megalopolis is to tell a story that reflects his optimism for the potential mankind has, even as the world becomes more fractured — a time-honored narrative that makes it easy to think of the fall of Rome. He wants to leave encouragement for younger generations and the generations to follow — so long as this movie lives up to the enormous heights of its grandiose aspirations. Only time will tell there, but Coppola has made it clear that he’s not telling this story in the pursuit of additional profit or fame. Rather, Coppola sold out a great fortune of his wine enterprise in order to bring this movie to life. Hopefully, these years of hassle and hardship pay off.
Along with Isaac, Jessica Chastain, Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Zendaya, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange, and James Caan have all been rumored to be involved in Coppola’s big-screen return. It’s unclear if they are still being pursued for the project, but none of them have been confirmed at the time of this reporting. Production on Megalopolis is slated to begin later this fall, which means that we’ll be hearing even more casting updates throughout the summer months to follow. It should be noted that Whitaker and Voight were previously reported to be circling the film prior to this casting announcement.
Following his breakout role in HBO‘s Girls, Driver has worked with some of the most acclaimed directors in modern history, including (but not limited to) Martin Scorsese, Jim Jarmusch, Ridley Scott, Spike Lee, Terry Gilliam, Steven Soderbergh, Noah Baumbach, Steven Spielberg, and the Coen brothers. Now, with his role in Coppola’s latest epic, Driver will have another opportunity to work with a cinematic great and build upon his own legacy as one of our finest, accomplished, most versatile working actors.
There is currently no release date or window for Megalopolis.