Sofia Coppola returns to Tokyo—but this time, LA is in the spotlight

By Sarah Cortina

Writer, director, actor, model, fashion designer. These are just some of the labels you could use to describe Sofia Coppola. But with the release of her latest directorial effort, "Somewhere," the one most often brought up during interviews is “famous daughter of.”

The film stars Elle Fanning ("Phoebe in Wonderland") as the daughter of a Hollywood star, Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff; "Blade"), whose fame leads to a downward spiral of drugs, sex and ennui. Coppola admits that her experiences growing up with a famous father informed the movie, but insisted at a recent press conference in Tokyo Midtown, “My childhood and the setting of the film are very different.”

Still, the director says she does draw from life when devising her screenplays. “My first daughter was born just before writing the script,” Coppola explains. “I was interested in writing about a parent because it was what was on my mind at the time.” She adds, with a grin, “My previous film 'Marie Antoinette' was so girly that I wanted to try something different.”

"Somewhere" is the second film that Coppola based on one of her original screenplays, after 2003’s "Lost in Translation." Like "Translation," the setting of the new movie—in this case, LA’s storied Chateau Marmont—plays a vital role. Both Coppola and Dorff, who lived in the hotel throughout shooting, have a long-time connection with the 80-year-old venue. “I always wanted to go,” says Dorff, who grew up within throwing distance of the Marmont. “I always saw somebody cool that I respected.” The bad-boy actor—who as a teen was reportedly kicked out of more than one private school—even celebrated his 21st birthday at the hotel.

So it comes as no surprise that many people are saying Coppola created the role of Johnny Marco with Dorff in mind. While the director doesn’t quite go that far, she explains that her vision of Marco was “a real, all-American movie star, sort of like the Marlboro Man.”

The actor and director also took the time to gush about 11-year-old Fanning, who is already showing talent on a par with her older sister, Dakota. Dorff admits that he was nervous about performing with such a young co-star. “But she went toe-to-toe with me on everything,” he says, adding that over the course of the shoot, the pair developed a close bond. “It felt weird after the movie. I missed her and wanted to call her, but then I thought, ‘That’s weird, she has her own dad.’”

Somewhere, Dorff says, is a very “special, incredibly poetic” film and he implores fans to “be patient and go with Johnny Marco.” Coppola adds, “I hope you feel like you’ve been in Los Angeles for two hours.”

"Somewhere" opens in Japan on April 2.

This story originally appeared in Metropolis magazine (www.metropolis.co.jp).

© Japan Today

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I hope you feel like you have been in LA for 2 hours? Does she mean like stuck in heavy traffic? Having the LAPD chase drug dealers etc..all over town with LA county helicopters that not only blind the heck out the bad guys at night with their flood lights, but the rest of traffic gets blinded for a while and we all learn to slow down and let the bad guys and the police shoot at each other up the freeway? Or does she mean, like having a nice lunch on a beautiful sunny day out in Malibu? LA is a huge place and you can be in heaven like Santa Monica or be in hell like Compton or some other bad parts of East Los. so not too sure what Sofia means by her wanting us to feel like we are in LA, Disnelyland or Magic Mountain?

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@ elbudamexicano You're right. I don't think you can even get from downtown to Santa Monica in 2 hours if it's rush hour.

I'm interested to hear what people who've seen this movie think about it. From the trailer, it looks terribly pointless and boring.

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mottomotto :

it looks terribly pointless and boring.

Not surprising that Sofia Coppola's fame and talent rides SOLELY on her relationship to her truly genius father . . . She is one of those vapid spoiled dizzy over-entitled offpring of famouse parents who can't think their way out of a wet paper bag.

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MottoMatto, all I can say is if it takes 2 hours from Down Town LA to Santa Monica in rush hour, when will LA have the brains to make something like the Yamamonte line, the Chuo line, and put in Shinkansens, bullet trains connecting LA to the rest of the state and beyond with out having to be stuck in crappy traffic? Maybe Ms.Coppola can make us a new film, kind of showing LA in the future with nice trains, less smog, crime and less stress??

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^ By 2020 the bullet train that can travel from LA to SF in about 2 hours (about the same distance and time between Tokyo and Osaka) is supposed to be running, in addition to a lot of new Metro Rail lines. LA is already starting to look like American version of Tokyo, with its technology, post-modern architecture, flashy neon lights, safety, fashion, etc. At least its improved a lot compared to 20 years ago when movies like "Boyz N The Hood", "Menace II Society", and "Falling Down" fit the descriptions of LA at the time. There have been plenty of movies about LA in the future, such as "Blade Runner" and "Demolition Man", the latter being close to what you described.

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I'm looking forward to this film, particularly since the greatest film critic of all time, Pulitzer Prize winner Roger Ebert, gave this film 4/4 stars. As far as what it's like being in LA, there is a lot more than just bad traffic and crime. Perhaps Ms. Coppola, having been in the film industry and around stars her whole life, might know a thing or two about how to present their lives truthfully on screen? She certainly got Tokyo fairly accurate in Lost in Translation.

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the movie its self was ok its just the ending could of been better it had ended iand i thought i had missed something but no it just ends........?

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