Social media trends can be pretty unpredictable and honestly, weird. The most recent fad, initially popularized on TikTok, revolves around women posing the question to men: How often do you think about the Roman Empire? Surprisingly, to everyone but men, many have responded by claiming they ponder the ancient civilization daily or multiple times a week. Even more surprising is that even Hollywood heavyweights are jumping on board. One such luminary is none other than renowned Godfather trilogy director Francis Ford Coppola, and his answer might not come as a shock to those familiar with his oeuvre. Now, someone get Christopher Nolan on the phone, because I need to know his answer.
The iconic filmmaker behind one of the most realistic war films, Apocalypse Now, willingly joined in on the trend, asking himself the question and providing his take via Instagram. As the 84-year-old director explains, he thinks about the long-gone Republic quite often and for good reason. He wrote:
How often do I think of Ancient Rome? Quite a lot, as the Roman Republic served as the example for my country America and its institutions, and was the inspiration for my upcoming film Megalopolis film.
Francis Ford Coppola's answer hints at a profound connection between the Roman Empire's allure and its lasting impact on American culture and cinema. The Roman Republic's democratic ideals and political structure have served as a wellspring of inspiration for the United States, visibly reflected in its governmental systems and architectural designs. However, Coppola's curiosity goes even further, as he elaborated:
My fascination with the Roman Republic is based on the struggle between the political parties during which the interest of the Republic yielded to the ambitions of a few powerful men who espoused the aims of political parties to establish their own fortunes and authority by relying upon armed forces to achieve those ends, dealing the final blow to a constitution already tottering to its fall.
We definitely should've expected such a cerebral answer from one of the world's most renowned filmmakers. While his words provide quite a bit for fans to chew on, I'd still love to hear what Christopher Nolan thinks about the empire. It goes without saying the Oppenheimer helmer is also one of the film world's greatest minds, and it wouldn't be surprising if had some keen thoughts to share as well. So please, someone pose the question to him during an interview very soon.
As for the specifics of Francis Ford Coppola's latest feature, they're deliberately being kept under wraps. Yet what we do know about Megalopolis is it features an impressive cast that includes renowned actors like Adam Driver and Aubrey Plaza. But the exciting news didn’t stop there. In August 2022, it was reported that the ensemble would include Shia LaBeouf (who was notably later seen in Greek goddess attire), Talia Shire, Jason Schwartzman, Grace VanderWaal, Kathryn Hunter and James Remar.
The Bram Stoker's Dracula director has intriguingly characterized the decades-spanning epic sci-fi drama as an enigmatic piece that eludes simple classification. It’s worth noting that the Academy Award winner had seemingly quit making movies, as he'd been absent from the cinema scene for over a decade. So his return should be an eagerly anticipated event for many film enthusiasts. With all this in mind, the question that naturally arises is: What connection does the Roman Empire hold within the context of this mysterious project?
Anticipate further updates and news about Megalopolis at some point in the near future. In the meantime, I'll be pondering the other filmmakers and Hollywood A-listers should be asked about the Roman Empire. Michael Bay would probably provide a doozy of an answer but, again, let's hope Christopher Nolan is asked sometime soon.
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