Jan. 28, 1969
GOOD MORNING: Francis Coppola is pulling up stakes in Hollywood, moving to San Francisco where he’ll set up a studio facility… “I don’t dislike L.A.,” he allows, “but I figure at this age (29) I should find out where I’m going. I’m from New York but I wouldn’t want to live there. L.A. — I like it — but… I want to do what Jack Warner and Harry Warner did 40 years ago — find the place” … The young filmmaker started his directing career with “You’re A Big Boy, Now” filmed in N.Y., “Finian’s Rainbow,” at the W7 studio in Burbank and recently (also for W7) “The Rain People” on locations in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Nebraska and N.Y.”… Coppola has been shopping for the “facility” (not a studio, he points out) in the SanFran area and almost nabbed an old estate as headquarters where he’d mix, dub, edit his pix. He may have to settle for a less artistic site — an industrial building. “I’ve sunk all my own money in the equipment,” he admits, “and it may take everything I have for the place” First film in the new surroundings will be “The Conversation” which he’s writing and describes as a “personal film.” It’s a man on his 50th birthday … 2009 Update: I reached Francis (by phone) at his studio in Napa, Calif. He is working on “Tetro,” the film he shot (for a year) in Buenos Aires and which will be released this summer. It’s his first original screenplay since “The Conversation.” Vincent Gallo stars in the family drama — and while it’s about an Italian family in Buenos Aires, he assures it is not the Coppola family — “It’s about Argentinean Italians who speak Spanish,” he laughed… Wasn’t “The Godfather” also a “family film?” “Yes,” he said, “But — I HAD to write that one” (he needed the money). “My big pleasure it to write — I’ll never stop — and direct these kind of personal films.” He says he is able to do so “because I am blessed with my successful wines” — two labels, the Coppola and Rubicon. He also has three resorts — in Beliz and Guatemala, and he still works in his portable editing studio, “The Siiver Fish” parked alongside shooting sites. I’ve seen him work in it from the General Service Studio stages in the heart of Hollywood to setside at stages at Cinecitta in Rome. He has offices in SanFran’s Sentinel Building, also home of Coppola’s movie memorabilia-decorated Cafe Zoetrope. Could it be the site for Francis’ birthday celebration April 7 — his 70th?