SDCC 11: Francis Ford Coppola, Twixt Liveblog


This is Flixist’s last major panel to cover at Comic Con, and it marks Francis Ford Coppola’s return to Comic Con after promoting Bram Stoker’s Dracula so many years ago. Did you guys see that one? I love it. Keanu in a British accent? Aww yeah.

Coppola is here promoting his new horror murder mystery, Twixt, which we showed you the first behind the scenes pictures of some days past.  This is the genre where Coppola got his star, ADing Roger Corman horror way back in the day, so I’m excited to see the first footage of Coppola moving away from the arthouse fare he’s been on the past few years. Not that I didn’t dig Youth without Youth or Tetro, mind. It’s just always a treat to see a master like Coppola make these kinds of more “fun” movies. Say what you will about Tetro, but fun, it ain’t. I’ll be liveblogging the panel when it starts at 11:45 PST. 

– The panel doesn’t start for 45 minutes, but I HAD to share this now. The film is in 3D, and rather than give us the normal 3D glasses, we got 3D masks. Of Edgar Allen Poe’s face, with dead, black eyes. This may be the single best piece of swag I’ve gotten. Will upload a pick ASAP.

– Pic is uploaded. I’d wear this all day if it didn’t make all screens look funky

– Panelists: Coppola, obviously; Dan Deacon, film’s composer; Val Kilmer, professional awesome guy;

– Val Kilmer is one head in the clouds motherf***er

– Coppola reminds us that Apocalypse Now came out with a program, not credits, hence the 3D mask with credits information

– I have such a hard on being this close to the director of the Godfather.

– After Avatar, people were telling Coppola that 3D was the new exciting thing. He’d always loved the old red and green 3D. He talked about the tradition of 3D horror movies, from House of Wax to Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder. = 3D is easier to do now, with computers and 3D in television, but Coppola doesn’t like watching 3D with glases. He’d just take them off and put them on when he wants to. Entire movies need not be in 3D, but certain sequences should be. Talks about the silent film Napoleon, which used three separate screens, occasionally using them together for a sort of 3D. He then had us all out our masks on for pictures. 6000 Edgar Allen Poes. JESUS.

– Showed us an extended trailer. VERY cool looking. Twin Peaks esque dream sequences where Val Kilmer’s character Hall Benjamin, washed up writer, is visited by Edgar Allen Poe and V, a strange apparition played by Elle Fanning. Benjamin is trying to write a book about the mass murders that have plagued the small town he arrives in for a book signing. It’s a very cool, gothic-looking movie. 3D is only in parts, signaled by a pair of old school red and blue glasses flashing across the screen. An interested notion. Val Kilmer is really bringing it. Very interesting character, and he also get to toss in some of that humor and charm that I’ve always loved about him. A lot of interesting imagery. Dream sequences in black and white. Very stark differences in cinematography between waking and dream world. Cool stuff. This is going to be a film to watch, guys. I can’t wait until a real trailer hits for you all to see.

– Coppola briefly talked about his horror roots, and his love of gothic romance. It’s very apparent in this film. When asked if he’ll ever work in a larger film, he said he’d want to make a movie with a bigger budget, but with the same stringent controls. He says he’s writing a big, big movie at the moment, but he doesn’t know how he’ll finance it.

– “Cinema is young. How DARE people think all its got up its sleeve is some new 3D tricks?” YEAH BOYEE! He says this is a PHASE of cinema development, and there’ll be more innovation for hundreds of years. Dan Deacon spoke about the evolution of theater and art, how it changed as the medium was accessible without the artist being personally there. Composers conducted their own music for money, theater obviously had to be live. That’s not as true now. Art has become “commodified”, now that it can be available for everyone. All about posing the idea about why movies have to be canned entertainment.

– Coppola wants to be able to take a movie to each theater and give a difference experience to each audience. It’s all digital, so it’s possible for a director to remix the movie as he sees fit, inside the theater. Kind of a mad, cool notion! He’d give more of what we’d like depending on our reactions.

– Showed us how he could control the flow of the film from an iPad, showing longer and shorter scenes. He can on the fly perform the film, specifically for audiences. And h’s going to do it right now! THIS IS SO COOL.

– There are some technical glitches, but it’s cool stuff. He is literally remixing the film as we watch it, live from his iPad, with live music from Deacon. He’s editing together clips, Deacon is editing togther footage. This is goddamned crazy. I am absolutely blown away right now.

– He can take a default lineup, make some scenes longer, some shorter, add in stuff we didn’t see, repeat stuff. There are obvious kinks, since there’s a lot of trouble getting it together. Coppola is doing the narration, because Tom Waits can’t add in narration live. BTW, Tom Waits is the narrator.

– The new promo, that he put together AS WE WATCHED IT made it look a little weirder than creepier. The man was creating art as we were watching. He even basically shuffled the clips, and it, well, shuffled the clips together.

– This is sort of amazing. There are kinks, since the tech is so new, but the potential of this is staggering. This is true innovation. Yes, I know live editing and VJing isn’t anything new, but doing it on a large scale, with a full length movie. 

– On remaking the Godfather: he has no control over the rights, so he can’t say it’ll never happen, but Coppola hates remakes. Thinks Hollywood should be spending money on new ideas and new forms,

– As a final note, the last question came from a guy dressed as Captain Eo, which Coppola directed. BEST PANEL EVER.

I need to write up a separate blog post on my ideas on this panel. My mind is so blown right now I can’t even think. Look for that next week or so.