Interview by Christine Thompson
We had the good fortune to catch the film PARIS CAN WAIT during SXSW and interview Director/Writer Eleanor Coppola as well as attend a reception at Basecamp featuring pairings with a wine she developed (appropriately named “Eleanor”) at the Coppola family vineyards in California.
The matriarch of the Coppola filmmaking family, which includes husband Francis Ford Coppola and daughter Sofia Coppola, attended the pre-premiere reception for her narrative directorial debut at age 80. Sony Pictures Classics’ co-president Michael Barker joined her along with nephew and band “Rooney” front man Robert Schwartzman.
Coppola’s narrative directorial and screenwriting debut stars Academy Award® nominee Diane Lane as a Hollywood producer’s wife who unexpectedly takes a trip through France, which reawakens her sense of self and her joie de vivre. Anne (Lane) is at a crossroads in her life. Long married to a successfully driven but inattentive movie producer (Alec Baldwin), she finds herself taking a car trip from Cannes to Paris with a business associate of her husband (Arnaud Viard). What should be a seven-hour drive turns into a journey of discovery involving picturesque sights, fine food and wine, humor, wisdom, and much more. PARIS CAN WAIT is playing in limited run, opening June 2nd, 2017 at the Arbor Cinemas at Great Hills in Austin, Texas.
AMFM: What was the impetus for the film?
Eleanor Coppola: We were at Cannes in 2009 and I he had further work to do in Eastern Europe. I had a super bad cold and decided at the last moment at the airport not to fly with ears and so forth, that I’d just take the train and go back to Paris.
The Gentleman who took us to the airport was someone I knew slightly. He said “Well I’m driving back that way, why don’t you just get in the car with me.” I knew it was a 7 hour drive and thought “well that will be ok, I’ll be in Paris by early evening.” Then the trip took two and a half days…
AMFM: So this story is true.
EC: Yes! So of course my husband was calling and saying “where are you, where are you!” (laughs) When I got home I told a friend about my experiences and as we were laughing she said “that’s the movie I’d like to see.” And I’d never thought about it! I never thought about writing a script. But I’m at an age where I thought, “hey, why the heck not!” I got a script-writing course for my computer and started in.
I got about 45 pages or so, and thought I’d try it on a few professional friends and they told me to keep going. So I did. Long story short, it took six years to write, and get the cast and the financing and everything pulled together.
AMFM: When the filming started how long from start to finish?
EC: We were actually in production, the shooting part, 28 days.
AMFM: 28 days? It was a beautiful film. Languid and leisurely, and true to life. It was like an art piece in itself. So the art that you mentioned in the movie, can you talk a little bit about that? It’s sort of like a love letter to Paris too.
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