Francis Ford Coppola’s latest film TWIXT opens in San Francisco this Friday, August 10th. Written, directed and produced by Coppola, this film represents his new code of personal filmmaking ethics: the film must be an original story; it must have a personal component, and it must be self-financed. Coppola says, “Beginning in reverse, the self-financing forces the budget to be limited and there’s no producer, distributor, or financier to weigh in with; the personal focus means in the end I might learn something about myself; and having to write an original story means that I won’t take the shortcut of starting with a book or otherwise adapting anything someone else worked out.”
TWIXT is about a writer (Val Kilmer) whose career is in decline. He arrives in a small town on his book tour and becomes wrapped up in a murder mystery involving a young girl. One night in a dream, he’s visited by a ghost named V (Elle Fanning). Unable to figure out the ghost’s connection to the murder, he still feels grateful that a story is being delivered to him and is eager to figure out his role in the story.
It turns out the plot of TWIXT came to Coppola in a dream while on a trip to Istanbul. He recalls, “I was in Istanbul in Turkey, trying to see if that might be a city I could make a film in. While out for dinner with a young lawyer who was advising me on work conditions there, her sister arrived and I had a great time involving the consumption of ‘raki,’ the traditional liquor. That night, under its influence, I had a particularly vivid dream — I was in a frightening forest and saw a young girl walking with me; we approached a hotel and when I entered they said I was stepping on the ‘grave’. The whole floor was the grave, filled with murdered children. They were stepping out of it and playing in the moonlight as if it were sunshine. In the dream I kept thinking: ‘This is a gift; I’m being given a scary story in this dream.’ In the dream I ran into Edgar Allen Poe and asked him to guide me. As I began following him I was awoken by the call to prayer coming out of my window, nearly knocking me out of bed and I thought, ‘Oh no, I’ve got to sleep, I’ve got to get the ending.’ Of course I never was able to get back to that dream, but at least I was able to dictate the fragment of it into a recorder. That was the germ of the story that became TWIXT.”
To add to the alluring dream-inpisred genesis of TWIXT, part of the film is in 3-d and at this year’s Comic Con, Coppola gave the crowd 3-d lenses embedded in Edgar Allen Poe Masks. If that isn’t boss, I’m not sure what is.
The full Rumpus interview with Coppola coming soon. TWIXT opens in San Francisco and runs August 10-16 at Sundance Kabuki Cinema. Tickets found here.