"Is there a smell that reminds you of love?" So begins a tête-à-tête between Jason Schwartzman and Roman Coppola. The privileged pair -- Roman is the son of film legend Francis Ford Coppola, Schwartzman his nephew -- engage in a witty and whimsical ode to romance entitled "Videogram About Love."
See the fabulous LA life of Roman Coppola in the slideshow below:
LA native or transplant? What neighborhood do you call home?
I grew up in San Francisco and moved to LA about 20 years ago and now my main home is in Hollywood.
16 years ago, you and director Mike Mills started The Directors Bureau to "provide directors with a supportive platform from which to explore, invent, realize, and promote their creative endeavors." What do you tell young directors who are starting out in
Starting a business can be tricky and often there is work and effort you didn't expect when you first embarked on it. For filmmakers, I'd emphasize the work itself and to just do the work at whatever level they are able. In modern times, we have so many great tools and great access to cameras and editing equipment. Having a company is a second level - a different type of endeavor and great if you have a group of people who are like-minded and can support one another. But I would focus most importantly on the work itself. <em>[Pictured: Cousins Jason Schwartzman and Roman Coppola] </em>
Strangest family tradition? Loveliest family tradition?
Strangest would be the "poowabah" – something we chant at the beginning of a film we make. It started with my dad; it's an old college tradition. Sofia has done it and I have as well before we begin filming – chanting poowabah three times. The loveliest tradition is probably centered around food. We love making food and have different food traditions for each season. For Easter we make pizza la tete and the Friday before Christmas we have seafood and for Thanksgiving we do the classic dishes, turkey and everything. <em>[Roman Coppola pictured with his sister Sofia]</em>
Freeways or side streets?
If the freeway is moving fast it can be fun especially at night. There are great overpasses at certain spots especially at the 101 near the Vine exit where you can see the Capital Records building, and driving downtown is exciting. But generally, I prefer side streets. <em>[Pictured: Roman Coppola, Michael Pitt and Eddy Moretti]</em>
How did you set out to write "Moonrise Kingdom" with Wes Anderson? (We are huge fans of the film…)
That was an unusual process in that Wes had conceived the idea and he had a sense of the world and the characters but not total clarity on the story. Just as a friend I would visit with him and ask how it was coming along, and he'd show me some of the elements. It was through these conversations that I started to be helpful to him where I'd ask a question that would trigger something in him. We collaborated in a unique way in that it was something he conceived and I helped to draw out of him. Sometimes in writing you have difficult periods and then other times it just flows. We had a great flow.
What's the best part about working on a short film versus a feature? What's the biggest challenge with a short?
The best part about a short is that it comes together very quickly and you finish it very quickly. The short film project I just finished for W Hotels and Intel, I didn't have my script finished until a few days before we began filming. We edited it very quickly and now it's up online. It was great to conceive an idea and have it premiere just a few weeks later, compared to a feature, which takes a year or more. The biggest challenge with a short is, I don’t think there's just one thing, but perhaps getting enough momentum to lift it off the ground. It's easy to think, "Oh I'll do one one day," but it's a matter of actually doing it.
Favorite meal in Los Angeles?
I'm a big fan of Musso and Frank. I love the ambiance and the food and cocktails are fantastic.
Let's talk music. You've worked with The Strokes, Daft Punk, Moby, Green Day, Fatboy Slim and many others. What are your top five bands of all time? Who are some new artists you're listening to right now?
Top five bands: Kinks, The Who, The Beatles, The Clash, The Specials. Contemporary bands: Liam Hayes and Plush (who did the soundtrack for my upcoming film), The Radar Brothers (a local LA band), Phoenix, The Strokes, Coconut Records.
You premiered your first film at the Cannes Film Festival in 2001. What is the best advice you can give to first-time Cannes goers?
I would say to try to book a table at Tatu if you can. <em>[Pictured: "On The Road" premiere at the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival]</em>
What's the most accurate stereotype about Los Angeles?
There are a lot of very flamboyant and outlandish people and attention-seekers in LA, and I think that’s what makes LA appealing. A lot of people are attracted to come here to do things and make things happen and the city seems to attract larger-than-life characters. <em>[Pictured: Director Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman]</em>
You have a new film coming out in February with Charlie Sheen. Tell us about it. Tell us about him.
I'm excited about my film and very proud of it, it's very unusual. It's a character study – a portrait – of a guy who is dealing with a breakup and who has a very vivid imagination and is a person who is trying to process what he's just gone through. Charlie Sheen plays the lead role. I'm very proud of his performance and delighted I was able to present him again on the big screen. I think he has so many charms and so much wit that I hope people come to appreciate his abilities and talent and we'll get to see much more of him on the big screen.
Most recently, you directed a short as part of the "Four Stories" series with W Hotels and Intel, with Jason Schwartzman as the lead. What is your short about? What's the best part about working with Jason?
My short is an intergalactic vampire take. Describing it any further would give away some of its appeal. So if it sounds intriguing, I hope people will go watch it online. <em>[See video above]</em> I love working with Jason. He's one of my favorite people, and of course, he's also my cousin. We've done a lot of things together and have a great creative rapport where we enjoy riffing on ideas and goofing off and free-associating. We’ve had some nice opportunities to do things over the years. I will always invite those collaborations in the future.
Your family has a great wine business with Coppola Wines. What is your favorite to drink? How old were you when you had your first glass of wine?
My family makes a lot of different wines and I enjoy many of them. Different wines are great for different occasions. The new Inglenook Rubicon is great for special occasions. I have an edition of wine called RC Reserve, which is a Syrah and a particular favorite of mine because of my involvement. I don’t recall precisely how old I was, but have a recollection of being in Europe probably around age 12 or so and in Europe it's very normal for kids to have a bit of wine at lunch. I have great memories of that.[ <em>[Pictured: Roman Coppola with father Francis Ford Coppola]</em>
What's your favorite place in LA to see a movie? Are you an ArcLight guy?
I live and work very near the Cinerama Dome and The Arclight – that's probably my preferred theater because it's so close and has great programming and the Dome itself is spectacular. I was recently at the Chinese Theater and that's pretty hard to beat for its romance, history and architecture. And the Egyptian is also a favorite. I like the old movie palaces and for more contemporary things, The Arclight.
Favorite LA spot for a late-night bite or nightcap?
That would certainly be Musso and Frank but they close at 11pm.
How did you choose the winning “Four Stories” scripts?
There were about a 1,000 scripts and a whole group of judges who filtered through and pulled the best 50 or so scripts for me to look at. All the judges weighed in and voted on the ones with the most merit. Then we had to do some work and find the ones most suited for production and within our capabilities. We had to consider the locations because we wanted a nice array of different W Hotels to shoot in. We came down to about 5-6 scripts and invited filmmakers we admired and got their take, to see what people gravitated towards.
What excites you most about being a filmmaker?
I enjoy that there's so much variety in my day. I may get a call to go to some exotic location off the cuff and find myself having various adventures, being in curious places and to have that spirit of adventure in your life is wonderful. In these last few weeks I've been to over seven different countries, which has been a lot of fun. Working with creative and talented people, especially actors, is a wonderful pleasure. <em>[Pictured: Francis Ford, Roman and Sofia Coppola]</em>
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