Sofia Carmina Coppola (born May 14, 1971) is an Academy Award winning writer and director.
As the daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia was raised among artists, with her grandfather Carmine being a composer, her brother Roman Coppola being a screenwriter and director (a friend and collaborator of Wes Anderson in particular), Talia Shire being her aunt, and Nicolas Coppola (aka Nicolas Cage) as a cousin. More than that, on account of her father being part of the New Hollywood, she was raised among many Hollywood icons with George Lucas occasionally babysitting her (and Sofia admitting that she still thinks of him as her Honorary Uncle rather than the director of Star Wars), and growing up knowing the likes of Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg and other famous figures who gathered to pay court to her father. If that sounds a little too much like the opening of The Godfather, then that's no accident.
Much as he did with all his children, Coppola gave Sofia cameos in his early films. Appearing as a baby in the baptism scene in The Godfather, and then as Diane Lane's kid sister in Rumble Fish (where Nicholas Cage also appeared in an early role). She had never wanted to be an actress in the first place, her initial interests being writing and film-making. As a young woman she wrote the script for her father's short film in New York Stories. She became well known however, and on account of the fame and success of the film, still widely seen, for her performance in The Godfather Part III. She was the last minute replacement for Winona Ryder who was originally cast but who then pulled out. On very short notice, with production already underway and Coppola needing a success to stave off bankruptcy, he cast his daughter. While the film was a success and got decent-to-mixed reviews at the time, in later years it was seen as the quintessential bad third movie of the trilogy, and Sofia Coppola's performance is often held accountable for its failure rather than many of its other problems. She also played Anne Chambers in Frankenweenie (she was credited as "Domino"), and one of Queen Amidala's handmaidens (Saché) in The Phantom Menace.
Nonetheless, she marched on and started making her own shorts, and became a director in her own right. Her Breakthrough Hit, The Virgin Suicides got much notice from reviews for its stylishness, as well as its take on a woman's coming-of-age story. It was also one of Kirsten Dunst's first adult roles, and she and Coppola would form a partnership, making three films together. She won attention and acclaim for Lost in Translation, Bill Murray's Career Resurrection as a serious actor, and Scarlett Johansson's Breakthrough Hit as a major star. The success of that film won her an Academy Award (for Original Screenplay rather than Direction), and it led to Sofia Coppola becoming established as one of Hollywood's most prominent young film-makers and one of the few major women directors. She has continued to direct films after that but has generally made arthouse or independent-leaning films rather than mainstream works. Her Biopic Marie Antoinette is often seen as a polarizing work with some disliking its stylish and anachronistic take on history, while others liking it for the same reason.
Works of Note:
- The Virgin Suicides (1999)
- Lost in Translation (2003)
- Marie Antoinette (2006)
- Somewhere (2010)
- The Bling Ring (2013)
- The Beguiled (2017)
- Creator Killer: Her acting career was killed right out of the gate by her performance in The Godfather Part III, while her directing career did not really recover from Marie Antoinette, until 2017 with The Beguiled receiving critical acclaim, coupled with her winning Best Director award at Cannes 2017, making her the second woman to do so.
- Production Posse: Kirsten Dunst has worked with Coppola in The Virgin Suicides, Marie Antoinette, briefly in The Bling Ring, and in The Beguiled.