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30 Unknown Facts To Know About The Famous Director – Francis Coppola

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Francis Ford Coppola, the semi-retired American film director, screenwriter and film producer, is often referred to as the central figure of the New Hollywood wave of filmmaking. Here are 30 interesting facts about the director:

  1. Coppola belongs to family of Italian ancestry, born in Detroit, Michigan on April 07, 1939. He is second of the three children to Italia and Carmine Coppola.
  2. He received his middle name Ford in honour of famed automobile manufacturer Henry Ford. His father was a flautist with ‘The Ford Sunday Evening Hour’ radio series sponsored by Ford Motor Company.
  3. Coppola is the younger brother of August Floyd Coppola, the American academic, author and film executive. He has a younger sister Talia Rose Shire better known for her role as Connie Corleone in the film The Godfather.
  4. His penchant for directing can be attributed to his indulgence as a child with homemade puppet theatre production. He was bedridden for some time in his childhood due to polio.
  5. He liked reading books preferably biography of scientist and plays. The book ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ inspired him in to theatre.
  6. Coppola was an average student, nicknamed ‘Science’ by his friends for his keen interest in engineering and technology. He attended 23 schools before graduating from Great Neck North High School. He was awarded scholarship in playwriting at ‘Hofstra College’ with theatre art as major.
  7. At college he was elected president of drama group and musical club. He was awarded three D.H. Lawrence Awards for his theatrical and direction skill. He also received Beckerman Award for his contribution to theatre art division.
  8. After his graduation from ‘UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television’ located in Los Angeles, he was into directing short films and was hired to dub and re-edit a German and Russian film.
  9. The film ‘The Bellboy and the Playgirls’ was the first full length film written and directed by Coppola. He was credited for addition for 3-D colour footage to the original German film ‘Mit Eva fing die.’
  10. Coppola’s talent and dedication was impressive enough to earn him the role of dialogue writer for ‘Tower of London’ in 1962, as sound man for the 1963 film ‘The Young Racer.’
  11. Dementia 13 was the first feature film by Coppola from his screenplay and was directed in 9 days. The film was produced on a shoestring budget with fund left over from the movie ‘The Young Racers.
  12. In 1965, Coppola was awarded the ‘Samuel Goldwyn Award’ for his best screenplay written by a UCLA student.
  13. He directed his second film ‘You’re a Big Boy Now’ in 1967, which earned him critical acclaim and his Masters in Fine Arts from ‘UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television.’ This film was shot in 29 days.
  14. In 1969 with an intention of producing mainstream pictures to finance off-beat project of first time directors, he started a studio named ‘Zoetrope Studio’ in San Francisco. The studio adopted digital filmmaking and use of ‘HDTV.’
  15. Coppola co-wrote the screenplay with Edmund H. North for the film Patton in 1970, which earned him his first ‘Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.’ He would have missed the opportunity but for George C. Scot, the lead actor in the film whosupported his script with controversial opening scene.
  16. The film ‘The Godfather’ in 1972received positive reviews and earned him the ‘Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.’ He also won two ‘Golden Globe Awards’ for Best Director and Best Screenplay for this movie. The movie features in all time lists of greatest films.
  17. Coppola’s film ‘The Conversation’ in 1974, further established his credentials as filmmaker in Hollywood. He won his first ‘Palme d’Or at 1974 Cannes Film Festival. The film created much interest after the ‘Watergate Scandal’ when it was believed to have used the same spy equipments used against Nixon Administration.
  18. Coppola was credited with two nomination for best director, for the film ‘The Conversation’ and ‘The Godfather Part II’ in 1974. He is the third director to have two nominations in the same year.
  19. His next film ‘Apocalypse Now’ based on Joseph Conrad’s novel ‘Heart of Darkness’ was released in 1979. It fetched him the ‘Palme d’Or’ award at 1979 Cannes Film Festival.
  20. Coppola threatened suicide during the filming of Apocalypse Now, due to delay and increasing cost which almost destroyed his career. The production was delayed due to bad weather, actor’s heath, and extras from Philippines military left in the middle to fight the rebels.
  21. In 1983 Coppola sold his 23 acre Zoetrope Studio to pay-off his debts after his film ‘One from the Heart’ met with disastrous at the box-office. The film used the video-editing technique.
  22. Coppola lost his eldest son Gian-Carlo Coppola in a boating accident before making of the film Garden of Stone in 1987. His son was part of original cast in the film.
  23. In 1990 ‘The Godfather Part III’ was nominated for 7 Academy Award including best director and best picture. The film failed to win any award.
  24. The film ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’ of 1992 became a box-office hit, making it the 15th highest-grossing film of the year. The film won Academy Award for Costume Design, Makeup and Sound Editing. The success of the film saved Coppola’s studio Zoetrope from bankruptcy.
  25. Coppola was involved in a lawsuit with Warner Bros over making of The Adventures of Pinocchio. He lost the project for which he was paid $20 million as compensation and further $60 million for damages.
  26. During making of the film ‘Tetro’ in 2009, thieves broke into his studio at Buenos Aires and stole his electronics including his computer with film script. Though the film was a box-office failure, it was one of the most beautiful films ever made according to him.
  27. Coppola owns several life style hotels and resorts around the world. He also founded a magazine ‘Zoetrope’ in 1997 and a restaurant by the same name in San Francisco.
  28. At the 1996 Cannes Film Festival Coppola was the jury president and was a special guest at the 46th International Film Festival in Greece.
  29. He has to his credit produced 73 and directed 34 films. He has also written screen play for about 29 films and acted in 5 in minor roles.
  30. Coppola has won 5 Academy awards and 49 various international awards, including the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, Golden Globe, Primetime Emmy, BAFTA Film Award, Board of the Governors Award, Saturn Award, etc.

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