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Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis Might Have Some Sci-Fi Among Its Many, Many Elements

In his vast career, Francis Ford Coppola has made masterpieces (Apocalypse Now, The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, The Conversation), cult classics (Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Outsiders), and curious whatsits (The Godfather Part III, Peggy Sue Got Married). Which will Megalopolis be? While the world waits to see the movie he’s had on his mind for decades, the writer-director is giving fans a few crumbs to go on.

In a statement provided to Vanity Fair, along with a first-look image you can see in the magazine’s X post below, Coppola—who invested $120 million of his own money in the project, and just turned 85—gave some hope to sci-fi fans by noting Adam Driver’s character has the “power to stop time.” That’s Driver, who plays an “idealistic architect and artist planning to rebuild a city that has fallen to ruins” and Game of Thrones’ Nathalie Emmanuel, who plays the daughter of the city’s corrupt mayor (Giancarlo Esposito) and who falls in love with Driver’s character, in the photo.

So we have a dystopian city, and a character who can “stop time” (literally or metaphorically?), as well as a cast that also includes Aubrey Plaza, Shia LaBeouf, Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Laurence Fishburne, Jason Schwartzman, and others. In his statement to Vanity Fair, Coppola outlined the influences he drew on in the 40-something years he was dreaming of making Megalopolis, including 1936 sci-fi classic Things to Come, adapted by H.G. Wells himself from his book The Shape of Things to Come. “[It’s 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 told the magazine.

He also refers to his movie as “a Roman epic set in modern America,” tying in both ancient history and more recent New York City moments, as wide-ranging as September 11 and “the antics of Studio 54.” He did that “so that everything in my story would be true and did happen either in modern New York or in ancient Rome. To that I added everything I had ever read or learned about.”

While we wonder what Megalopolis will be, here’s what Coppola said he hopes audiences will take away from it: “It’s my dream that Megalopolis will become a New Year’s Eve perennial favorite, with audiences discussing afterwards not their new diets or resolutions not to smoke, but rather this simple question: ‘Is the society in which we live the only one available to us?’”

Megalopolis will debut at the Cannes Film Festival next month; hopefully it’ll then make its way stateside for theaters and streaming.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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