Francis Ford Coppola’s Ambitious Sci-Fi Epic Somehow Just Got Even Weirder

Featuring Aubrey Plaza as, uh, Wow Platinum.

YouTube/Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis is a once-in-a-lifetime work. The iconic filmmaker has eschewed typical film production by completely self-funding his sweeping dystopian epic, even selling off significant portions of his winery to retain complete creative control. Now, with the film set to open at the Cannes Film Festival, anticipation is growing. With that hype comes a brand new teaser, which hit Coppola’s personal YouTube account because the film has no distributor yet.

We’ve already seen a glimpse of Megalopolis in the previous teaser, which showed Adam Driver as Cesar Catilina, an architect who can apparently stop time. But this trailer contains far more reveals, from meteors to chariot races and moving statues. Check it out below.

Megalopolis’ grand scale was already evident in the filmmaker’s sprawling list of influences, which ranged from ancient playwrights to 20th-century murder cases. But this trailer shows just how vast that variety is, and it proves an early impression calling the movie “unflinching in how bats*** crazy it is” wasn’t an overreaction. Even the cast list is goofy — Aubrey Plaza plays a character named Wow Platinum.

But while this trailer gives us a lot to look at, it doesn’t mean much until we get a sense of the story. Megalopolis looks fascinating, but Coppola's total creative control could backfire.

Lady Justice is blind — and walking the streets — in Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis.

YouTube/Francis Ford Coppola

Regardless, this latest teaser has made one thing clear. Megalopolis, with its cloud hands, satellites, and Romanesque aesthetics, is the movie Coppola intended to make. In a Hollywood that’s increasingly controlled by metrics and audiences, seeing such an unadulterated vision from a legendary director is encouraging. Even if it doesn’t all work, directors with resumes like Coppola’s should be encouraged to swing for the fences.

With only a few days before the film’s Cannes premiere, we’ll soon know whether that vision can stand on its own. But if this teaser is anything to go by, Coppola has made a bizarre epic. In the teaser’s description, Coppola calls it “the best work I've ever had the privilege to preside over.” If he can manage to string all these eclectic moments into one narrative, then it will be.

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