GOOD MORNING and happy holidays: This is the time of year for families to get together and celebrate and up in Napa there’s a Hollywood family indeed celebrating. I talked to two members of the Coppola family gathered there: Sofia and her more-than-proud papa, Francis, who are indeed in a holiday mood. And they have their own label of bubbly wine to toast their “Lost in Translation” which continues to gather garlands from movie mavens. As for the wine, Francis named his vineyard’s sparkling label after Sofia … The pic, directed and scripted by Sofia, has won awards from N.Y., San Fran and Toronto crix, plus Golden Globe nods for pic, director, screenplay, and thesps Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. (It goes wider in January) … Sofia is awed by those she’s nominated up against. “It’s an honor to be in their company,” she said. Sunday night, Francis flew his plane to L.A. from Napa to dine with longtime (25 films) friends Fred Roos and Dean Tavoularis, then picked up Sofia after she did a Q&A with Quentin Tarantino following a WGA screening of “Translation.” It’s now vacation for Sofia, brother Roman and the Coppola clan. And Sofia says she’ll spend that “vacation” looking at screeners; Monday night was “21 Grams” and “School of Rock.” … Roos, who has known Sofia since she was born — “I used to bounce her on my knee” — isn’t able to join the Coppolas. His film, Disney’s “Young Black Stallion,” in Imax, bows Christmas Day.
I’VE STOOD ALONGSIDE Francis Coppola as he has directed films in his own (Zoetrope) studio in the heart of Hollywood, on giant stages at MGM and on even larger stages at Cinecitta and he always impressed with his enthusiasm about that particular film. But never, I mean never, have I heard him happier or more excited about a film than he is about “Lost in Translation” — and his daughter Sofia. “This beautiful slip of a girl — she’s only 31 — is holding up the family name in the company of such wonderful people. She’s started to have a distinct voice. You can see her style. She wrote it out of her heart. ” He continued, “I’m so proud of my children. They’re rewarded by being originals. And they’re such good children — so respectful, I feel nachas (Yiddish for — well, nachas)! They really learned the business on my sets. I took them out of school for all my pictures. They really learned first hand like I learned from my father.” As for “Lost In Translation,” he reminded, “There’s no violence or sex — just pure human feelings.” As for Francis’ future film “Magalopolis,” he’s narrowing its start down to “one more rewrite – maybe six more weeks. I’m working on the last two acts.” The first three acts are the present, the finale in 2012. “It’s fantasy, but not science-fiction,” he insists. “It’s a peaceful, creative world, but it doesn’t rule out sex, love, family. There’s enough tragedy around us (in real life).” Francis’ multi-layered other life, apart from film, includes his winery, the label for Sofia and Roman’s label as well, his food lines, vacation resorts, magazine. And as for his film company, Zoetrope, he says he plans to transfer it to Sofia and Roman, “and I hope they’ll let me make films for them!”
THE ROBERT REDFORD-JENNIFER Lopez-Morgan Freeman “Unfinished Lives” was sneaked in New Jersey last week. But the Lasse Hallstrom-directed, Alan Ladd Jr.-produced pic for Miramax-Revolution won’t be released until winter 2004. When Ladd invited Redford to do the film, he said, ” You want to play Spencer Tracy?” Redford, who went to Uni High with Ladd, agreed to the pic sans script only knowing Hallstrom would direct … The downtown L.A. New Year’s Eve celebration hopes to one day rival Times Square’s. Quincy Jones, one of the enthusiastic originators, is sidelined on a crutch due to a leg problem (improving) but he’s doing a video for the party. He’s also readying for the May 16, 2004 global celebration of “We are the Future” teamed with producers Don Mischer and Louis J. Horvitz … Hollywood’s well-loved — and well-known — Santa Claus, Brady White, who is seen in commercials for Kool Whip and Priority Mail, also made his annual visit for small fry at Carroll & Co. in BevHills. The previous night he’d also made an appearance at a movie executive’s party for his small fry and friends. When Santa asked a little girl, “What would you like, princess?,” she answered, “but I AM a princess.” “Yes, of course,” said Santa, “but what would you like?” She repeated, “I am a princess. My grandfather is the king of Sweden!” By the way, Carroll & Co.’s men will really dress up the day before Christmas — all the salesmen will wear tuxes. Christmas is the time to get together with old friends — so it was appropriate for us to be at Barbara and Warren Cowan’s holiday party. Warren and I are oldest friends, having gone to Townsend Harris High School together. And his wife Barbara is the daughter of screenwriter Harry Crane, who also wrote for “The Dean Martin Roasts.” And Barbara’s daughters are SAG president Melissa Gilbert and Sara Gilbert. Pals who dropped in included Shirley MacLaine, Tony Curtis, Norm Crosby, Jack Carter, Red Buttons, Budd Friedman, Lainie Kazan, Jayne Meadows, Deborah Raffin, Robert Loggia. Michael Hollingsworth did the terrif holiday dinner — with Barbara C., herself cooking all the briskets! … Today, Mort Sahl celebrates the 50th anni of his start at the hungry i in SanFran — “When they had a hole in the bill.” He stayed for 15 years! Coincidentally, Sahl and Hugh Hefner are celebrating their 50th annis, but both were pals before their respective starts. Tonight the Sahls and the Bob Weides celebrate together. Weide produced the PBS American Masters docu, “Mort Sahl: The Loyal Opposition.” Weide’s a director and executive producer of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Cecil B. DeMille’s “King of Kings” (1927) airs 7:30 ayem (EST) and MGM’s 1961 Nicholas Ray-directed version airs 5 p.m. (EST) on Turner Classic Movies Christmas Day. Out-takes from the original, “Eymo Shots,” never-before seen pics of the players off-camera is being stored at UCLA in hopes of being saved for reproduction … Jonelle Romero of the Red Nation Celebration and Spirit World Prods. says “Thanks to the vision of Robert Halmi Sr. and John Fusco, ‘Dreamkeeper’ authentically represents contemporary Native American people along with the myths and legends of our culture. I am proud that my daughter Sage could be part of a project with such integrity.” It airs Sunday and Monday on ABC … Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.