The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Francis Ford Coppola‘s long-gestating – and self-financed – sci-fi epic Megalopolis, is in severe peril with the production believed to have descended into what the publication has described as “chaos”.
The movie, which has been shooting in Atlanta since October, has lost key creative talent in the past week including the production designer and supervising art director, in addition to losing the entire visual effects team at the beginning of December.
It was reported previously that Coppola intended on, and initially proceeded with, using virtual production technology similar to that on The Mandalorian – a real-time generating CGI projection background, known as The Volume within Disney – before costs of that approach spiraled wildly out of control, leading to the production to retreat back to traditional green screen technology.
Coppola put together a massive ensemble A-list cast for what has been a passion project of his for decades, including Adam Driver, Nathalie Emmanuel, Forest Whitaker, Laurence Fishburne, Jon Voight, Talia Shire, Shia LaBeouf, Jason Schwartzman and Dustin Hoffman.
The director is funding the film entirely with his own money, generated from the small fortune accrued through the sale of his extremely popular wineries in the Northern California region. However, due to these issues, the $120 million budget has since expanded, while the film is halfway through shooting but the publication reports that it is unclear if the production can actually finish.
The movie’s synopsis ambiguously states that ‘The fate of Rome haunts a modern world unable to solve its own social problems in this epic story of political ambition, genius and dangerous love’. The plot of the film is believed to revolve around an architect who seeks to rebuild New York City as a futuristic utopia in the aftermath of a cataclysmic disaster.
Coppola is no stranger to difficult productions on his epic films, with the 1970s shoot for his 1979 classic Apocalypse Now dogged by issues, which he described coming down to being “[In] the jungle. We had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane.”
Speaking to Deadline earlier this year, when asked if he felt any apprehension over funding the project, Coppola was bullish in his response. “What’s the worst that can happen to me? I’m going to die and be broke? I’m not going to be broke,” he said.
Megalopolis is currently without a release date, and is produced by American Zoetrope, Coppola‘s production company.