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Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis Casts Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito: Report

Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis has reportedly added Giancarlo Esposito to its ensemble lineup. As per Deadline, the Breaking Bad star has been tapped to play an undisclosed role, in a film that is described as the acclaimed director’s passion project that has been decades in the making. The actor began the year on a good roll — winning Best Supporting Actor at the Critics Choice Awards, earlier this month, for his performance in Better Call Saul, and now marks his first occasion of working with The Godfather filmmaker.

Megalopolis turned heads in late 2021, when news broke that Coppola was looking to finance his own film, after a decade-long silence. The report claims that the budget is set at just under $100 million (about Rs. 816 crore), with the production being “on schedule and on budget.” This contradicts a report from The Hollywood Reporter, earlier this month, whose sources claimed that the movie had “descended into chaos,” and had lost its art department. While Coppola isn’t exactly known for having the smoothest filming processes, he later contested that report, stating that while there indeed was some turnover in the crew, it wasn’t “out of pocket” and that the characterisation was “inaccurate.”

In Megalopolis, Esposito joins a cast of A-list actors including the likes of Adam Driver (Marriage Story), Forest Whitaker (Arrival), Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones), Jon Voight (Heat), Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix), Aubrey Plaza (The White Lotus), Shia LaBeouf (Transformers), Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man), and Jason Schwartzman (The French Dispatch). While Coppola first penned the script back in the 1980s, it was eventually shelved in 2001 after 9/11 made the headlines. Plot details on Megalopolis are scarce, but it is described as being set in a post-disaster New York City, which an architect intends to rebuild as a utopia. Meanwhile, Deadline’s report calls it an “epic story of political ambition, genius, and dangerous love.”

“There’s a certain way everyone thinks a film should be, and it rubs against the grain if you have another idea,” Coppola said last year, in reference to Megalopolis, during the 50th anniversary of his crime epic, The Godfather. “People can be very unaccepting, but sometimes the other idea represents what’s coming in the future. That is worthy of being considered.” Backgrounds in Megalopolis were originally shot using the LED screen technology, implemented on high-budget projects such as The Batman, The Mandalorian, and the recently-axed 1899. However, THR noted previously that ballooning costs and other challenges urged Coppola to pivot to a less expensive and more traditional greenscreen approach.

Esposito himself has been keeping busy, having recently starred in Netflix’s heist series Kaleidoscope and reprising his role as Moff Gideon in the Star Wars universe series, The Mandalorian season 3, which airs March 1 on Disney+ Hotstar.

Currently, there are no release details for Megalopolis.

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