Five Favorite Films with Sofia Coppola

Plus, the Oscar-winning writer-director chats about her latest film, Somewhere.

Sofia Coppola

"I never expected to win a prize for anything for my films," says writer-director Sofia Coppola, who won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2004 for Lost in Translation and whose latest, Somewhere, recently took home the Best Picture prize at the Venice Film Festival. When RT caught up with her recently, the quiet, modestly spoken Coppola seemed humbled by the attention, preferring to talk about vintage camera lenses and sound-mixing Ferrari engines rather than the Awards-season circus.

Indeed, the image that opens Somewhere -- Stephen Dorff?s Hollywood drifter doing laps in his Ferrari in the desert -- was the impetus for the film. "I imagine these guys with sports car collections, they have to bring it to some track outside the city to have to be able to drive them," says Coppola, "so I imagined him in the middle of nowhere, kind of going around in circles, to introduce the state he's in. I started with him and the Ferrari, and then I thought about the Chateau Marmont and the stories of people I knew, or things I've heard, around there, and sort of put them all together."

"I pictured Stephen early on, just as kind of this lost, bad boy LA actor," the director continues. "I just felt like he was the right guy for the part; I'd met him and I knew him over the years and I always thought he was a good actor." It's a subtle, affecting performance from Dorff, whose character -- a bored actor adrift in the purgatory of his own fame -- comprises a lot of wordless, long takes. "Stephen's so sweet that I felt like that would help make you care about watching the character," says Coppola. "He's so flawed that you could easily not be interested, but I felt that he's got so much heart that he could connect people to it."

Curiously, Coppola shot the film using old Zeiss lenses once used by her father, Francis. It's perhaps ironic that Coppola senior is now once of digital's biggest advocates, and at one point had even wondered why his daughter would want to film on archaic stock. "I think he appreciates it now," she laughs, "but I remember he and George Lucas a while back saying, 'Oh, you have to start shooting on digital -- why are you using film?'"

Well, that explains the first of her five favorite films...



Rumble Fish (1983, 70% Tomatometer)
Rumble Fish

I love that it's an art film about teenagers. I just love the way that it's shot -- I love those old lenses, those Zeiss lenses; they have a softer feel. [Coppola and her DP, Harris Savvides, used the lenses from Rumble Fish to shoot Somewhere.] Roman [Coppola, her brother] and I are just sentimental about film.




Breathless (1960, 96% Tomatometer)
Breathless

The Godard version. [On the similarities between the moving car jump cuts in Somewhere:] I guess I was going through that whole New Wave thing... coming from a documentary background.




Sixteen Candles (1984, 87% Tomatometer)
Sixteen Candles

That was one of my favorite films when I was growing up, and I'll still watch it every time it's on.




Lolita (1962, 97% Tomatometer)
Lolita

I love Kubrick. I love the way he put that film together, the way it's filmed. Just some of the shots he did there, like the reverse shot in the car window with the monster.




The Last Picture Show (1971, 100% Tomatometer)
The Last Picture Show

It's just a beautiful film.



Somewhere is in theaters this week. Click here to read our chat with Stephen Dorff , who also talks his five favorite films.

Comments

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Good list with some great movies. Though I'm not a huge fan of her films. Translation had its moments but I credit Bill Murray for that films watch-ability. The rest of her stuff, meh...

Dec 22 - 05:14 PM

Bubbles

frzkj dfsfe

awful taste. no wonder all her movies are boring crap!

Dec 22 - 05:29 PM

Matt Cuffe

Matthew Cuffe

"Everyone has a right to be stupid; some people just abuse the privilege."

Dec 22 - 05:32 PM

RJ Smoove

Ryan Rutherford

Lol

Dec 22 - 05:42 PM

BjorkDjork

Björk Mastodon

Well said.

Dec 22 - 06:07 PM

BjorkDjork

Björk Mastodon

Great, great list by a remarkable talent! 'The Last Picture Show' is (sometimes) my favorite film of all time. 'Breathless' and 'Lolita' are phenomenal. As for 'Rumble Fish' and '16 Candles', to each her own. They are immensely entertaining, just not required viewing. Sophia's films are unquestionably beautiful and thoughtful. Looking forward to 'Somewhere' greatly.

Dec 22 - 06:10 PM

BLaCKWoLF

BLaCKWoLF .

*APPLAUSE*

Dec 23 - 04:05 PM

GabrielOmassi

gab omassi

This guy is obviously retarded or must of been raped by Francis Ford Coppola.

Dec 26 - 03:05 PM

anDy

Andreas Babs

hmm. I actually think her taste is really good. Breathless is arguably one of the best films of all time. In fact, it is undeniably one of the most influential. Lolita is another great. The only one I don't really agree with is Sixteen Candles but ah well: It's why this is her list and not mine.

Dec 22 - 05:45 PM

Pycs

Matthew Charlebois

Sorry there wasn't any transformers 2 in her list, bubbles.

Dec 24 - 07:07 AM

Ciaran C.

Ciaran Campbell

cunt

Feb 4 - 09:45 PM

Matt Cuffe

Matthew Cuffe

"Everyone has a right to be stupid; some people just abuse the privilege."

Dec 22 - 05:32 PM

RJ Smoove

Ryan Rutherford

Lol

Dec 22 - 05:42 PM

BjorkDjork

Björk Mastodon

Well said.

Dec 22 - 06:07 PM

BjorkDjork

Björk Mastodon

Great, great list by a remarkable talent! 'The Last Picture Show' is (sometimes) my favorite film of all time. 'Breathless' and 'Lolita' are phenomenal. As for 'Rumble Fish' and '16 Candles', to each her own. They are immensely entertaining, just not required viewing. Sophia's films are unquestionably beautiful and thoughtful. Looking forward to 'Somewhere' greatly.

Dec 22 - 06:10 PM

BLaCKWoLF

BLaCKWoLF .

*APPLAUSE*

Dec 23 - 04:05 PM

GabrielOmassi

gab omassi

This guy is obviously retarded or must of been raped by Francis Ford Coppola.

Dec 26 - 03:05 PM

RJ Smoove

Ryan Rutherford

Lol

Dec 22 - 05:42 PM

anDy

Andreas Babs

hmm. I actually think her taste is really good. Breathless is arguably one of the best films of all time. In fact, it is undeniably one of the most influential. Lolita is another great. The only one I don't really agree with is Sixteen Candles but ah well: It's why this is her list and not mine.

Dec 22 - 05:45 PM

BjorkDjork

Björk Mastodon

Well said.

Dec 22 - 06:07 PM

BjorkDjork

Björk Mastodon

Great, great list by a remarkable talent! 'The Last Picture Show' is (sometimes) my favorite film of all time. 'Breathless' and 'Lolita' are phenomenal. As for 'Rumble Fish' and '16 Candles', to each her own. They are immensely entertaining, just not required viewing. Sophia's films are unquestionably beautiful and thoughtful. Looking forward to 'Somewhere' greatly.

Dec 22 - 06:10 PM

Bye bye

Steven Bailey

Ugh, I absolutely HATED The Last Picture Show. I don't understand what anyone sees in that movie.

Rumble Fish looks interesting, I'll have to put that on my watch list. Lolita has already been on my watch list for a while now.

Dec 22 - 06:12 PM

Lateralus

Lateralus Grates

See both versions of "Lolita". They are both great and should not be missed.

Dec 22 - 06:46 PM

Lumbergh Phucter

Jamie Eakins

Rumble Fish is... a different animal, but not one that should be dismissed so lightly. Just don't expect The Outsiders and you may enjoy it. The Stewart Copeland song is great, too.

Dec 23 - 08:18 AM

arendr

Arend Anton

That's funny...no Godfather I or II. Maybe she's sick of them. Or maybe it's because she almost singlehandedly destroyed Godfather 3.

Dec 22 - 06:32 PM

dethburger

dethburger hates Flixster

Ouch!

Truth hurts though.

What a great film it would have been if Winona Ryder had not dropped out.

Dec 23 - 04:38 AM

Lateralus

Lateralus Grates

Sofia Coppola is nepotism personified. There is no greater example in all of film history of pretentiousness being mistaken as genius, and ,as someone already pointed out, she fucked up "The Godfather 3."

Dec 22 - 06:45 PM

algreen99

AL Green

No, her father who cast her and clearly knew she could not act fucked up part 3.

Dec 22 - 11:05 PM

Lateralus

Lateralus Grates

You think that's what fucked it up?

Dec 23 - 12:20 PM

ScytheofAzrael

Omar Siddiqui

That was nepotism, yes, but the rest of her works in my opinion have actually been good - not her acting, but her directing.

I don't think her directing is a result of nepotism :/

Dec 24 - 12:17 AM

Lateralus

Lateralus Grates

Her entire career is a result of nepotism. How many directors are out there who could make pretentious and boring films that never get off the ground? A shitload. Hopefully she dies in a planecrash so I don't have to see another movie that spends 2 hours following someone moping around a hotel.

Dec 24 - 07:45 PM

BLaCKWoLF

BLaCKWoLF .

I cant lie, I largely agree with everything that Lateralus has said about Sofia Coppola. I would like to say that talent gets you places and opportunities but thats not how things work, its who you know and how many doors your family name can open for you.

That being said, I also think that whilst there are many, many directors who would want to make films that could be labeled as boring or pretentious, it doesnt mean that they would be any good at it. I'll give her credit for making films that are considered to be quite good and aren't complete failures.

Dec 25 - 06:45 PM

Lateralus

Lateralus Grates

See both versions of "Lolita". They are both great and should not be missed.

Dec 22 - 06:46 PM

pinkyfoo

Jon Jonson

Good list. Has some classics like Lolita and Breathless, as well as more personal favorites like Sixteen Candles and Rumble Fish.

Dec 22 - 06:48 PM

Jeffrey C.

Jeffrey Cooperhouse

I just gained more respect for Sophia Coppola.

Dec 22 - 07:23 PM

IrreducibleKoan

Sean Pak

ah, Rumble Fish, Francis' last great film.

Dec 22 - 07:32 PM

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