Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Francis Ford Coppola and Self-Doubt

We all have periods of self-doubt about our work. I felt better about my own small struggles after hearing this excerpt from an interview with Francis Ford Coppola by his wife, Eleanor, during the filming of his future masterpiece, Apocalypse Now. To say things were not going well would be an understatement. Martin Sheen was having a nervous breakdown on camera, Marlon Brando arrived on the set obese, Dennis Hopper could not remember his lines because he was strung out on who knows what, and production costs were forcing Coppola himself into bankruptcy:

“What I have to admit is that I don’t know what I’m doing… I don’t have any performances, the script doesn’t make sense, I have no ending… this is one crisis I’m not going to pull myself out of. I’m making a bad movie, so why should I go ahead? I’m going to be bankrupt anyway…why can’t I just have the courage to say it’s no good?”

—Francis Ford Coppola, on the set of Apocalypse Now,
from the documentary, Hearts of Darkness,
directed by Eleanor Coppola.

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