'Redux' additions make ending 'more meaningful,' he sez

CANNES — Francis Ford Coppola covered everything from a musical “Gidget” to his upcoming epic “Megalopolis” (“very mysterious, very odd”) to his newly revised “Apocalypse Now,” which, 22 years after its release, is still one of the most highly anticipated films at this year’s Cannes festival.

Because of the 53 minutes of added footage in “Apocalypse Now Redux,” which premiered Thursday, “the ending — which has not changed — seems to be more meaningful and satisfying and less ambiguous than before,” the filmmaker said in a one-on-one interview Thursday at the Variety Pavilion.

Variety senior international advise Peter Cowie, who has authored three books on Coppola and who moderated the sesh, asked if “Redux” could be considered the definitive version.

“We didn’t imagine you could make a longer film at that time — there was never the option of making as long and diverse a film as we’re going to present,” Coppola said. He implied that because the added 53 minutes were cut into the original negative, he considered it the final version of the pic.

Miramax will release “Apocalypse Now Redux” in theaters Aug. 15 in a special Technicolor dye-transfer print.

Back in 1979, “Cannes sort of saved the film, because it won the Palme d’Or,” said Coppola, who had been defending the film against rampant negative reports until it screened to much acclaim at the 32nd Cannes fest.

Coppola said his new film, “Megalopolis,” will have a comparable scope to “Apocalypse Now” and “The Godfather.”

The pic, planned for a late fall or January shoot, is the story of a man who wants to build the city of the future. Coppola’s longtime production designer Dean Tavoularis is working on the film’s elaborate look from a “secret New York location” and Coppola confirmed the pic will be shot at least partially in Gotham.

Although Coppola would not confirm “Megalopolis” would be entirely shot digitally, he said he is consulting with George Lucas, who lensed the upcoming “Star Wars: Episode II” on the Sony 24p hi-def video camera, about ways to take advantage of the latest digital technology.

Clad in a flowery Hawaiian shirt, the helmer pontificated on everything from the artistic destiny of modern society to the jewels of exhibitors’ wives. He seemed relieved to explain that the revenues from his winery allow him to make personal films with less studio intervention, as well as to dabble in resorts, Zoetrope’s literary magazine and the theater.

After “Megalopolis” wraps, Coppola will present the musical “Gidget,” which he originally staged in Orange County, Calif., with a cast of high-schoolers, in London.

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