Why Sofia Coppola Almost Quit Filmmaking

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Good morning: In today’s edition of The Industry, we look at:

Sofia Coppola’s perseverance, Julia Roberts’ cyber-attack, the Gotham nominees, and palm oil.

Let’s go!

WHY SOFIA COPPOLA ALMOST QUIT FILMMAKING

Nearly two decades since Sofia Coppola captivated audiences with the ethereal beauty of Lost in Translation, she remains a paragon of persistence.

If Lost in Translation didn’t bring you to tears, we recommend a revisit.

However, the grandeur of her follow-up film Marie Antoinette drew polarized views.

Some saw genius; others, excess. For Coppola, though, the production process was so arduous that she nearly quit filmmaking:

“[Marie Antoinette] was just a hard shoot, and then I was just over it for a minute. My daughter was born, and I was trying to take a pause. But there’s something kind of addictive about making movies.”

We’re glad she didn’t stop.

Her latest film, Priscilla, combines her penchant for meticulous research, her innate sensitivity to human dynamics, and her personal connection to her characters.

Priscilla tells the tale of a young Priscilla Presley, who falls for Elvis and grapples with her identity in the shadow of ‘The King.’

In a similar way, Coppola, born to “cinematic royalty,” grew up amidst the glamour and challenges of Hollywood.

This gave her a first-hand window to witness the veneer of celebrity: the silent sacrifices and personal costs that often remain obscured by the spotlight.

When she wrapped Priscilla, she confessed to her husband:

‘I don’t want to do this again.’ And he said, ‘You say that every time.’

Legacy is not a birthright. It is earned through patience, persistence, and hard work.

Coppola’s work is defined by her relentless spirit from the start of her career to the unexpected setbacks.

We’re all fortunate to witness and learn from her.

For More:

Join Sofia Coppola as she discusses her creative process in making Priscilla. Sundance Collab hosts this free online event.

Mark your calendars: Priscilla graces theaters on November 3. Trailer here.


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Mission Impossible 8 has been delayed from June 28th, 2024, to May 23rd, 2025, due to the SAG strike delaying unfinished filming. We hope the wider gap between the Mission Impossible 7 and 8 releases builds anticipation, attracting more viewers.

Prisoners of Azkaban editor Steven Weisberg dies at 68 following a long battle with dementia. His ability to collapse large-scale Hollywood sets to tease out tension and elicit intimacy is best showcased here. Beyond his three-picture collaboration with Alfonso Cuarón (AzkabanA Little PrincessGreat Expectations), Weisberg cut Men in Black 2 for Barry Sonnenfeld. He will be missed.

A script competition that actually gets your work greenlightFor writers residing in the UK or Ireland, Thousand Films scriptwriting competition unearthed the writer behind the new Disney+ superhero show Extraordinary. Netflix, Sky, and BBC Studios have funded the development of almost 30 original projects since the program’s inception in 2019. Deadline is December 3rd. Apply here.

Aaron Sorkin (West WingNewsroom) has parted ways with CAA agent Maha Dakhil over her comments on Israel and Palestine. He moves to WME.

Talks between SAG-AFTRA and studio heads stumble but are set to resume tomorrow, marking the 103rd day of the actors’ union strike. Initial proposals from the studios surrounding “success-based compensation” have made an improvement but still fall short of SAG-AFTRA’s goals of 57 cents per subscriber.

Meanwhile, the prolonged strike has resulted in a staggering $6.5 billion loss to California’s economy.


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Halle Berry is back. Her forthcoming projects are poised to catapult her once again into the spotlight:

  • The Process*, a “Kubrickian psychological thriller,” explores the realm of self-help cults for husbands and wives (Berry) seeking marriage.
  • Maude, Maude*: A spy vs. spy thriller co-starring Angelina Jolie.
  • The Union, A former high school sweetheart (Berry), drags a construction worker into the intricate web of espionage.

(*She also serves as a producer for these features under her new company, HalleHolly.)

Liv Ullmann (Persona) is the focus of a new doc from Cannes. Liv Ullmann – A Road Less Travelled features arresting interviews with Cate Blanchett and Jeremy Irons. The doc explores how, in addition to Ullmann’s artistic endeavors, including frequent collaborations with director Ingmar Bergman (PersonaScenes from a MarriageCries & Whispers), she has dedicated herself to philanthropy, serving as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and playing a pivotal role in founding and chairing the Women’s Refugee Commission. The doc will be in theaters in the spring of 2024.

Julia Roberts protects her family against a catastrophic cyber-attack in Leave the World Behind. This Netflix thriller, out December 8th, produced by the Obamas, doesn’t feel very cohesive.

As we were writing this, we had fun arguing whether it was, in fact, cohesive and funny or not for over twenty minutes. We came out on polar opposite sides. So you’ll have to see the two very different trailers (linked here: 1 & 2) and decide for yourself.

At the bare minimum, we agreed that the visuals are frightening. Roberts’ acting is well-oriented. We’ll make a final determination on December 8th when this hits Netflix.


TECH SECTION

Hoyte van Hoytema, the DP behind OppenheimerInterstellar, and Her, loves vast wastelandsWhile accepting Variety’s Creative Impact in Cinematography award, he spoke about the technical challenges in filming Nope:

“There’s no way to photograph this, this feeling of vastness and grandeur of the sky, which was such a big part of our story. We kind of immediately started thinking, ‘How can we portray exactly that feeling that we have when we were out there in the field?’”

His solution was to film with two cameras: an IMAX 70mm and an infrared yolked together to capture the scene in its full depth and detail.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

“Palm Oil doesn’t cure shit.”

These are the words muttered by the tribal figures (above) as they lay ensnared in a dirt pit.

The film is Omen, a singular work by Belgian rapper turned filmmaker Baloji. It debuted at Cannes this year. The trailer gives us a window into his Afro-centric magical realism.

He’s just signed with UTA:

“They impressed me with their understanding of my profile and dedication to preserving my vision for magical realist cinema and African diasporic storytelling. I’m looking forward to this relationship and UTA’s commitment to building the next chapter of my career.”

A number of distributors are vying for the rights. Pay top dollar; we can’t wait!

Maxime Cottray was promoted to COO of indie genre sales agent/financer XYZ films (BlackBerryDualVivarium). Previously serving as EVP, he closed the acquisition and financing of the upcoming Blackberry, starring Glenn Howerton. He successfully secured significant production and P&A financing for the company. We’re excited for the next slate of genre films he accelerates into our cerebrums.

Steve McQueen (ShameWidows) directed his first docPremiering at Cannes, Occupied City delves into the confluence of pandemic, protest, and the haunting history of Nazi occupation in Amsterdam. The trailer looks heavy, haunting, and hypnotic.

McQueen has always brought a sense of crushing realism to vital historical events (we’re thinking of the hanging scene from 12 Years a Slave as an example). We’re excited for his project. The film is set to release on December 25.


FESTIVALS

Gotham Award Nominations:

Best Feature

Outstanding Lead Performance

Best Screenplay

All of Us Strangers (trailer) – leads with four nominations:

  • Best International Feature
  • Best Screenplay
  • Outstanding Lead Performance (Andrew Scott)
  • Outstanding Supporting Performance (Claire Foy)

The winners of the awards will be announced on Nov. 27 at a ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Hulu will make the top-performing South Korean spy series Moving available in English. They seem to follow the trend, given the mass popularity of Netflix’s foreign language series like Squid Games and Money Heist amongst American audiences. The 20-episode series is available today.

It’s a great day for Latin filmmaking. Brazil’s latest top-tier co-production combines:

  • Anonymous Content (True Detective)
  • Rodrigo Teixeira’s RT Features (Ad AstraCall Me By Your NameThe Witch)
  • Armando Bo’s (writer: BirdmanBiutiful) About Entertainment
  • Rebolucion (Cannes Lion-winning ad production company)

The partners hope to create tremendous Spanish language content during a three-year co-development and co-production agreement. Plans include sourcing IP and commissioning top writers and talent across Latin America. We’ve already downloaded Duolingo.

The ongoing Rome Film Fest, now in its 18th edition, has successfully extended the reach of cinema to unconventional venues throughout Rome, including correctional facilities.

Under the guidance of Martin Scorsese and Gael García Bernal, the festival has seen a significant surge in attendance and revenue, symbolizing a promising resurgence of interest in film after the challenging times of the pandemic.

The inclusion of engaging and politically charged films has further enhanced the festival’s reputation as a platform for diverse and thought-provoking cinematic experiences.

Let’s go Italy!

Happy mid-week.


ON THIS DAY

1978 – Halloween, directed by John Carpenter, starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis in her film debut, is released.



Today’s edition was written by: Gabriel Miller, Spencer Carter and Clarke Scott.

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