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Francis Ford Coppola denies bad behavior on Megalopolis set: ‘I’m not touchy-feely’

Fame director Francis Ford Coppola has denied reports of inappropriate behavior on the set of his latest epic Megalopolis, saying: “I’m not touchy-feely.”

The Godfather director, 85, premiered his 140-minute self-financed magnum opus, which stars Adam Driver and Aubrey Plaza, at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

On the eve of the premiere, The Guardian published a report alleging “chaotic behavior” on the set, including Coppola reportedly “pulling women to sit on his lap” and “trying to kiss some of the topless and scantily-clad female extras.”

In a new interview with The New York Times, Coppola reacted to the allegations by first referencing his mother Italia, who he said resembled Hedy Lamarr. “My mother told me that if you make an advance toward a woman, it means you disrespect her, and the girls I had crushes on, I certainly didn’t disrespect them,” he said.

Pressed further about the specific allegations, Coppola said there was a photo of one of the “girls” he had kissed on the cheek that had been taken by her father. “I knew her when she was 9,” said the director.

He added: “I’m not touchy-feely. I’m too shy.”

Francis Ford Coppola promoting ‘Megalopolis’ at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2024. He has denied reports of inappropriate behavior on the set of his latest epic Megalopolis , saying: “I’m not touchy-feely.”
Francis Ford Coppola promoting ‘Megalopolis’ at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2024. He has denied reports of inappropriate behavior on the set of his latest epic Megalopolis , saying: “I’m not touchy-feely.” (AP)

In a statement responding to The Guardian report, Megalopolis executive producer Darren Demetre said: “I was never aware of any complaints of harassment or ill behavior during the course of the project.

“Francis successfully produced and directed an enormous independent film, making all the difficult decisions to ensure it was delivered on time and on budget, while remaining true to his creative vision.

“There were two days when we shot a celebratory Studio 54-esque club scene where Francis walked around the set to establish the spirit of the scene by giving kind hugs and kisses on the cheek to the cast and background players.

“It was his way to help inspire and establish the club atmosphere, which was so important to the film.”

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The film received a mixed reaction at its Cannes premiere.

Journalists present at the screening reported booing from the audience after the film ended. However, the boos quickly turned to cheers when an “In Memoriam” segment proceeded to play for Coppola’s late wife Eleanor, World of Reel’s Jordan Ruimy reported.

The director and cast then received a seven-minute standing ovation.

“Thank you all so much. It is so impossible to find words to tell you how I feel,” Coppola said after the credits rolled, introducing his family members to the audience.

“But they were not the only family because all of these wonderful actors and folks were all my family. As Cesar [Driver’s character in the film] says, we’re all one family. You’re all my cousins. We are one. We are the human family. As you see at the end, that’s who we should pledge our allegiance to: our entire family and to this beautiful home, Earth, that we have.

“That is my wish. That it’s the children who are going to inherit this beautiful world from us. The most important word we have is the most beautiful word in any language: ‘esperanza.’ Hope. And that’s what I dedicate this to.”

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