Coppola shares pain of losing son in new film

TORONTO, Michel Comte- Legendary director Francis Ford Coppola on Monday shared his cathartic exploration of a father's pain over a child's death in his new film "Twixt," which premiered at the Toronto film festival.
The gothic romance, partly filmed in 3D, stars Val Kilmer as a struggling author flogging his latest third-rate thriller on book tour, when he confronts a mysterious death in a grim California town.

Coppola shares pain of losing son in new film
The main protagonist in the film, who lost a daughter, encounters the ghost of the murdered girl (Elle Fanning) who reveals the town's secrets.
Coppola ("The Godfather," "Apocalypse Now") said the script arose from a "vivid dream" he had in Istanbul. "I was thinking while I was having it, 'Oh, this is like a story,'" he told a press conference.
Inspired also by the writings of Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne, it is a deeply personal tale for Coppola too.
"I believe that every film I work on now should be personal because one of the beauties of making a film is that you learn so much from whatever subject matter you're working on," he explained.
"In some ways, making a film is like asking a question."
"I didn't realize it was going to take me to something I haven't ever admitted to myself," he added.
Coppola's eldest son Gian-Carlo, 22, died in a speedboat accident on the South River in Annapolis, Maryland in 1986, when Gian-Carlo was in the early stages of a film production career.
The driver of the boat, Griffin O' Neal, son of US actor Ryan O'Neal failed to see that two boats he tried to navigate between were tethered.
Gian-Carlo was decapitated, while O'Neal was sentenced to 18 months probation for negligent operation of a boat.
"Every parent feels that they're responsible for whatever might happen to their kid," Coppola said, "but I didn't realize how much I felt personally responsible for what happened those 20, 24 years ago."
He said he realized during filming that "it was time to own up to the fact that deep down in my heart I felt responsible because I could have gone, he wanted me to go."
"I should have been there."
"Whether I'll feel better (now), I don't know," he added.
The professional struggle of the film's main character, Hall Baltimore, also are reminiscent of his own career path, Coppola acknowledges.
"I felt a lot like Hall," he said. People are "very kind to me now that I'm older, they're generous with me, but the truth of the matter is I failed my way upward."
"I was always in a dismal crisis and getting bad reviews and trying to figure out how I'm going to support my family," he said, recalling the New York Times once describing "Apocalypse Now" as "the biggest disaster that Hollywood had attempted in 50 years."
"I thought, 'There's nothing worse?'" he quipped. "Now it's considered a classic. What's a guy to think?"

Tuesday, September 13th 2011
Michel Comte

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