Sofia Carmina Coppola is an American screenwriter, director, producer and actress. She is the daughter of director, producer and screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola.
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I’m Sofia Coppola, writer and director of the new film THE BEGUILED, which opens in theaters today. I’ve also written and directed Lost in Translation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6iVPCRflQM) and The Virgin Suicides (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3q2YzKp138).
Ask me anything!
Watch the trailer of The Beguiled: https://youtu.be/_r_FSRbuZ9Y
Thank you so much for all the wonderful questions and feedback. I hope you go see The Beguiled in theaters this weekend.
Is there a movie you wanted to write/direct, but didn't? The one that got away, if you will?
No. I'm happy with the choices I've made.
I have read that many actors and especially actresses have said that you have a great ability to create a supportive environment on set, how do you create that?
I think its important that everyone, especially the cast, feels safe and a calm atmosphere. No yelling. I love to play music on set.
What did bill Murray whisper in lost in translation?
haha I love how Bill Murray answers this question. He always says it is between the two of them!
What was it like working with Netflix? What do you think of the state of the film industry regarding cinema vs home ent/demand streaming?
I think it is great that we have access to so many films now through streaming. I really love the experience of seeing films in theaters though. I really hope people see the film with friends since it is really fun to see in the theater together. We also shot on film so it will look great on the big screen!
So, why the pink wig in Lost in Translation? Love it!
I remember when I would go to Tokyo in my 20s to do karaoke with friends. Everyone would drink sake and wear wigs to add to the experience.
I just started studying cinema and you're my biggest inspiration. Do you have any advice for me?
Thank you! I think it's important to tell the stories you want to see and make the films you feel aren't being made. And to express your personal experience. Don't take no for an answer.
Hi Sofia! I hope you're not too tired with all the press tour and congratulations on the positive reviews!
Any chance you will ever grace us with the sexy Colin Farrell calendar? Asking for a friend ;)
Thank you! Yes, I really need to get on that!
Hi! Thanks for doing this AMA.
What were your favorite movies as a child?
I loved The Thief of Bagdad by Michael Powell. I loved Sixteen Candles and Purple Rain.
What inspired you to soundtrack Marie Antoinette with 80s new wave music?
That period reminded me of New Romantic era - the way they looked at the 18th Century and I wanted to capture the playful approach.
What are your biggest inspirations as a director?
I get a lot of inspiration by actors that I want to work with. Getting to work with Kirsten, Elle & Nicole was very inspiring.
What was it like working with Scarlett Johansson? She played Charlotte in ways that came across as gentle, timid, sweet yet pained and frustrated all at the same time.
I love how she portrayed that character who was at a point in her life trying to find her way.
What is your screenwriting process like, do you plan methodically or just jump straight in?
In an original script I start by making notes until they start to come together and make enough of a story to make a film out of it.
I watched The Beguiled in Cannes last month, loved it. Any comments on that mesmerizing last shot?
Aww thank you! I wanted to end with a strong image to leave the audience thinking about the story.
Just curious, are there any contemporary artists working in other mediums (be it music, painting, writing (apart from Eugenides), etc.) that really resonate with you on a creative and/or personal level?
Yes definitely. I like photographers and painters. I love Elizabeth Paton and Rachel Feinstein.
What is your Top 3 bands/artists of all time?
That's such a huge question. I love Elvis Costello, Prince and The Clash.
Do you have any advice on set control?
I put a lot of effort into finding a crew that I connect with and understands how I like to work. My producer Youree helps me a lot and I like to have as many women on the crew that I can.
What's your favorite wine from the family winery?
I have to say I love the new sparkling rose that's named after me :)
Hi Sofia! You have no idea how much you inspire me. What is your favourite thing about working with Kirsten Dunst?
Thank you! I love working with Kirsten. She is smart, funny and so intuitive as an actress. She knows how to convey the characters I have in mind.
What are some of your favourite ways to seek inspiration? I love the dreamy, soft pastel vibes of your work. It takes me to another world. 🌸
That's so nice to hear. I look at a lot of photo references and art. You never know where you'll find inspiration.
You got a great triple-threat for this movie - Nicole Kidman, Kisrsten Dunst and Elle Fanning. What was your favourite memory of them when shooting The Beguiled?
We had a lot of fun hanging out on the porch of our location - just chatting and hanging out.
What do you feel by knowing that Marie Antoinette is shown by many history teachers, across the world, in their classes?
It is? I'm surprised to hear that. I love hearing girls who are interested in learning about her because of my film.
What counts as an "underrated" film to you? :~)
I thought Under the Skin didn't get as much attention as it deserves.
Im seeing Phoenix at Nos Alive on 6th of July, any chance of you coming?
I'm not sure I'll be there but I'm excited to see their summer tour.
What challenges do you find as a woman writer/director that not many people would think about?
I think every film is challenging for most directors but I'm determined to get my point across. I think it's more of a challenge to get stories made with the female characters at the heart of them but I'm hoping that's changing now with Wonder Woman doing well.
Bagels: Do you eat and what do you put on?
yes! Sesame bagels with cream cheese and lox!
How incredible are your family gatherings? Food and wine must be off the charts good.
Yes, there is really good food & wine! It's fun being from an Italian family and the focus is on eating.
I know it will be hard to pick, but what would be your favorite Phoenix song?
It's hard to pick but I love the song Honeymoon which made me have a crush Thomas.
Is Thomas Mars like a human jukebox for you? Like you say, "1901" and he starts singing?
No, I wish!
Your films have a unique sense of humor. Who are your favorite comedians? Did they influence your sense of humor?
Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Bill Murray. I love Gilda Radner growing up.
What do you write on? E.G equipment/ software?
I take notes on a notepad and I use Final Draft on my laptop Air. I find Final Draft really encouraging since it starts to look like a script right away.
I'd be interested to do a documentary. I don't know what but it's a forum I enjoy watching. I'd be too scared to write a novel. I like writing screenplays because it's not the final format.
Sofia! Hi! I know you have an affinity for fashion. What do you think are some wardrobe basics every woman should have? <333
I think they're pretty straightforward. Jeans, a good t-shrt, a little black dress and a button-down shirt.
I find that the music really compliments your first film.How was the band 'Air' chosen to write the music for The Virgin Suicides?
When I was working on that script I was staying in London and I went into a record store and saw their album displayed. I started listening to it and felt like the atmosphere really suited the script so I asked them to do the score.
Is there anything in your life, personally/professionally, you always wanted to do but haven’t had the chance/time to do yet?
I have always wanted to go to India. I have never been!
Did you happen to watch the Japanese film Your Name? I am a fanboy of this title and I'm asking you because, well, you made a film (which I also love) in Japan.
No I haven't heard of it but I'll look out for it.
Just wanna say "the Virgin Suicides" is so underrated and one of my favorite movies.
How would you describe your experience on "the Godfather part III" and do you plan on acting anymore ?
Thank you about "Virgin Suicides." It was interesting for me to see them making the film but I prefer to be behind the camera.
I just wanted to say that Lost In Translation is such an important piece of art in my life. As a high school student who has proven to be more unique than others, I have one friend who is just like me: different from everyone else around us. I made her watch Lost In Translation and she realized, like me, that we are Bob and Charlotte. We are two people who help each other through crises and always make each other smile. So thank you for crafting such an inspirational and amazing masterpiece. Everything about it (the cinematography, the amazing soundtrack, and more) is honestly the best I've ever seen.
My two questions are: 1) Did you intend on having Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson play Bob and Charlotte (like were the characters written with them in mind specifically)? and 2) I want to be a director and I have for many years. Which films do you recommend I should view that inspire your work each day?
Thank you so much,
(hopeful director) Micah Levine
I wrote with Bill Murray in mind and then found Scarlett when I was casting that part.
Movies that inspire me:
-"All That Jazz"
-Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner"
Music plays such a prominent role in your films. Can you give some insight into the process you go through to select the music in your films?
The music always adds to the emotion and atmosphere so I always like selecting them.
Hey Sofia, I'm beyond excited to see the Beguiled in theaters next week. What expectations/mindset/ideas do you want viewers to have going into the film?
I think it's great to go in without knowing too much about it and just go for the ride. And don't be afraid to laugh.
For you what are some movies that have a good photography?
"The White Ribbon" & "Badlands"
What are your thoughts on film colour palettes? Lost in Translation has a lovely mix of yellow, white, black, red and wig-pink :~P running through it and I can safely say The Beguiled has a much more muted colour palette than the rest of your films have, fittingly! :~P
I always think of the look of the film at the beginning - how to convey the film and the visuals of the story.
Sofia, I love the way you set up opportunities for your actors to bond before filming, i.e., you had Stephen Dorff pick up Elle after school irl. Do you also take part in activities such as these with your cast? <3
For The Beguiled, we did a lot of lessons like music, dancing, etiquette and sewing. This helped them bond as a group. I stay on the sidelines and like the actors to bond.
Do you still use your Contax T3, to take photos around the set or just your everyday life?
Yes, I do! I love that camera. I love taking snapshots on film.
What's a movie you and your father like to watch together?
We'll watch any movies. He likes all types of movies.
What drew you to making The Beguiled?
I thought it was an interesting story of a group of women isolated from the rest of the world and encountering a man after not being around one for a long time.
Hi Sofia! I'm Drew- a film student in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Why do you think your films have such a strong place within the gay community? Why do you think your work appeals to this demographic.
I'm happy to hear that. I have a lot of friends within that community and I think about them when I make my films.
Lost in Translation is a movie with an incredible moody atmosphere. It's so unique in that aspect. Did you had that in mind while writing it, or did it shape up that way while directing it?
When I thought about that story I thought about what it felt like in Tokyo. I was always there when I was jetlagged so I wanted it to have that dreamy quality in it.
Do you ever watch your own movies if they come on TV?
I do! I don't ever sit down to watch them. But when they do come on it's fun to be reminded of that time in my life.
Have you ever seen The Way Way Back?
No I haven't seen it.
If you could choose a favorite shot out of all of your films, which one would it be? :~P
That would be too hard to choose one shot. They are all like my children.
Will you do a movie with Will Ferrell?
Yes I would love to. Who wouldn't?
What did you think about 20th century women?
I did! My producer worked on it and I am friends with Mike Mills. I loved seeing that movie!
Hi Sofia! Do you feel a special connection with Italy? If so, has it influenced your movies, as well as latest Phoenix album? And how?
I think there's such a great film history there. I'm proud to be connected to that culture. I love Fellini.
Would you ever consider doing another short film in the future? Director's tend to only stick to features but you have an eclectic reach: a "Jack-of-all-Trades," if you will? :~)
Sure! I haven't thought about it but it would be fun to do something short.