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Francis Ford Coppola: The Godfather of American tyranny

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

The Godfather goes for broke, Amazon MGM’s 5 cents, Vivien Leigh bio-pic, Tilda Swinton is not a small player and a fire poker.

Let’s go!


Francis Ford Coppola has dumped his life’s learnings into Megalopolis.

His new film, premiering as an official selection at Cannes, is an amalgamation of ideas Coppola has been working on for more than four decades.

His inspirations include:

Coppola stated:

“This 1930s Korda (prod: The Third Man) classic is about building the world of tomorrow, and has always been with me, first as the ‘boy scientist’ I was and later as a filmmaker.”

Coppola discussed the historical event:

“Modern America was the historical counterpart of ancient Rome and that the Catiline Conspiracy, as told by historian Sallust, could be set in modern America.”

  • 9/11

Coppola explained:

“The script always had an element of an aging Soviet satellite falling out of orbit and falling to Earth, so we needed some shots of destruction and cleared areas, but of course no one could have anticipated the events of September 11, 2001, and the tragedy of the World Trade Center… As we were shooting our second unit at the time, we covered some of those heartbreaking images.”

This can all be boiled down into the official synopsis:

An idealistic architect and artist (Adam Driver) planning to rebuild a city that has fallen to ruins, and Nathalie Emmanuel as the socialite daughter of his nemesis, a corrupt mayor (Giancarlo Esposito), who likes his municipal kingdom the way it is.

Coppola, who re-wrote the film over 300 times, explained:

Megalopolis echoed these sentiments, in which love was expressed in almost crystalline complexity, our planet in danger and our human family almost in an act of suicide, until becoming a very optimistic film that has faith in the human being to possess the genius to heal any problem put before us.”

The film, for obvious reasons, has defied easy definition, even by the people who have seen it. It remains to be seen if it will be a masterpiece akin to The Godfather (1972) or a gloriously overstuffed opus.

For More:

First look image of Adam Driver in Megalopolis here.

A deeper dive into Coppola’s inspirations in this first look article.

The somewhat incoherent trailer for H. G. Wells’ Things to Come (1936).


Amazon Q1 2024. Amazon does not release individual numbers for Prime Video. Here is the most relevant figure from their earnings call and the delta from Q1 2023:

  • $11.8bn – Overall ad services revenue
    • ↑ 24%
    • Boosted by Prime Video’s ad-supported tier

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy stated:

“I think advertisers are excited about being able to expand their ability to advertise with us on video beyond Twitch and Freevee to Prime Video shows and movies. I think they also find that the relevancy and the measurability of that type of advertising in Prime Video ads is unique for them.”

Looking ahead for Amazon MGM studios’ Orion Pictures next film:

  • The Nickel Boys
    • Based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Colson Whitehead (writer: Barry Jenins’ The Underground Railroad)
    • Starring: Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor (King Richard)


Nickel Boys chronicles the powerful friendship between two young African American men navigating the harrowing trials of reform school together in Florida.

With this project, they hope to tap into the same audience as their film American Fiction (2023), which grossed $22 M worldwide.

Theatrical release date Oct 25th.

Paramount Global extended carriage negotiations with Charter Communications—a leading cable TV and internet service provider. Carriage negotiations, which determine the terms under which a cable operator like Charter can broadcast a content provider’s channels, are critical as Charter currently distributes Paramount’s content to its 32 M subscribers. The extension averted immediate programming disruptions as Charter, now the leading U.S. pay-TV operator, pursued negotiations based on a model established in its recent Disney deal, focusing on offering more flexibility and avoiding redundant content charges.

In simple terms, if you’re on Spectrum in the US, there is no content blackout for breaking news from CNN, CNBC, FOX News Channel, live sports from NBA, NHL, and ESPN, Family shows from Nickelodeon and History Channel, and USA Network.


A recent report details Dwayne Johnson’s perpetual lateness and degrading behavior on the set of Amazon’s Red One, leading to a $50 M increase in the budget, bringing the total to $250 M.

NewLine acquires Chris Farley biopic. This will be actor Josh Gad’s (Frozen, Jobs, Wolf Like Me) directing debut. Gad found his Farley in Emmy award-winning actor Paul Walter Hauser (I, Tonya, Richard Jewell).


Blaaaaaanche!!!!!!! Carla Gugino (Spy Kids, The Fall of the House of Usher) is set to play Vivien Leigh in a biopic, The Florist.

Vivien Leigh gave two beautifully operatic performances that earned her Oscars and cemented her as one of the greatest actresses to ever live:

  • Gone with the Wind (1939)
    • Played the iconic Scarlett O’Hara
    • Unexpected meet cute with Clarke Gabel post-break-up
  • A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
    • Plays the beautifully complex facade of a character, Blanche DuBois
    • Watch her threaten Marlon Brando with a broken bottle
    • Watch her famous “I’ve always depended on the kindest of strangers” line

Carla Gugino stated:

“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to excavate a woman as complex, contradictory, and compelling as Vivien. From the moment I read the script, I knew The Florist was a journey I had to pursue.”

Here’s the official synopsis:

A WWII veteran and blue-collar florist who encounters Leigh on a delivery. At the same time, the star attends a local psychiatric facility for electroconvulsive therapy. Amidst the backdrop of madness, Leigh and the florist become each other’s sources of truth, beauty, and love.

Channeling our inner Avy Kaufman (the film’s legendary casting director), it’s not a terrible stretch to see how Gugino could exhibit some of the same manic mannerisms of Leigh if she pushed her performance in this The Fall of the House of Usher scene.

Two goofy, beloved sitcom Dads are bringing back a vintage classic with a funny twist. Ty Burrell (Modern Family‘s Phil) will star, and Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle‘s Hal) will EP as the two team up for a new imagining of the 1959 dramatic spy serial Tightrope!

The new Roku Original series will be reimagined as more of a slapstick comedy. Leaning into Burrell’s strengths as a very funny actor and one gifted in physical comedy as well.

Here are some of the best of Burrell as Phil:

Cranston stated:

“I was inspired by the on-the-nose old drama series of the 50’s, to mess with the whole thing and create a new version of a lunatic comedy, never seen before in a TV series. Tightrope is a result of a fever dream, and conceived over a bowl of chili at Chasens, savvy?”

Episode 1 of 1950’s Tightrope!

Shooting will begin in June.

Casting tidbits and attachment updates:

  • Avengelyne
    • Margot Robbie in talks
    • Producer: Robbie’s Lucky Chap
    • Dir: Olvia Wilde
    • Writer: Tony McNamara (Poor Things)
    • Warner Bros. in talks
  • The Ballad of a Small Player
    • New Cast: Tilda Swinton
    • Previous Cast: Colin Farrell
    • Dir: Edward Berger (All Quiet On The Western Front)

Official logline:

When his past and his debts start to catch up with him, a high-stakes gambler (Farrell) laying low in Macau encounters a kindred spirit (Swinton) who might just hold the key to his salvation.


An unexpected romance triggers comic consequences for a young woman, her mother, and her boss, grappling with the complications of love, sex, and identity.

First look photos of Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron:

Also, Jeff Bridges has been confirmed to return to Tron: Ares!


Slamdance is moving to LA in 2025. From their press briefing:

“This move isn’t just a change of scenery; it’s a chance to dive deeper into our mission to uplift indie filmmakers and connect with even more of you. This monumental leap forward is a celebration of our community’s spirit and a testament to the collective power of the Slam Fam.”

The continued:

“We’ve been trying very hard to make our festival accessible and inclusive, and that also has to do with socioeconomics. A lot of audience members find going to film festivals quite expensive, and for filmmakers themselves, going to Park City is also a considerable expense.”

Sundance, also facing financial pressure, is going through a similar process and is currently seeking bids for relocation.

Slamdance’s new festival starts February 20-26.


Australian directors Danny and Michael Philippou (A24’s Talk To Me) are launching their next horror film, Bring Her Back. A24 will distribute, and Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water) will star.

The Philippou brothers hit the jackpot when their film Talk To Me premiered at Sundance. It was purchased for a high 7 figures by A24 and earned $92 M at the box office.

What it captured was the poignant authenticity of a daughter in grief and how she attaches herself to a very dangerous totem: a medium’s severed hand, which acts as a portal to hell (trailer).

No plot details for Bring Her Back are available. The film is set to shoot this summer.

Christian De Vita, a storyboard artist for Wes Anderson, just cast Brian Cox in his short animated film Wittgenstein’s Poker.

Here’s the official synopsis for the book on which it is based:

On October 25, 1946, in a crowded room in Cambridge, England, the great twentieth-century philosophers Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper came face to face for the first and only time. The meeting — which lasted ten minutes — did not go well. Their loud and aggressive confrontation became the stuff of instant legend, but precisely what happened during that brief confrontation remained for decades the subject of intense disagreement.

The famous argument culminated in a threat with a fire poker (first look still).

Da Vita discussed his approach to the animation:

“Using a traditional 2D animation style, we aim to capture the intensity and brilliance of these iconic philosophers, creating a visually captivating narrative that will immortalize this historical moment on screen.”

Da Vita has created storyboards for Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), Frankenweenie (2012), and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014).

A Kickstarter is launching today.


2000. Gladiator (Best Picture 2001), directed by Ridley Scott, premieres in LA.

See you tomorrow!

Written by Gabriel Miller and Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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