Sofia Coppola checks into ‘Somewhere’

Posted by · 8:28 am · April 17th, 2009

Sofia CoppolaIt seems to have become fashionable to dismiss Sofia Coppola as a lightweight in recent years, so news of her fourth feature film may be greeted with trepidation by some folks.

Not me, though. My relationship with “Marie-Antoinette” has shifted over time from guarded admiration to fully-blossomed love, while “Lost in Translation” remains, for me, the impeccably judged mood piece I always thought it was. (Detractors call it “slight”; I prefer “fragile.”)

In any case, the many who were on board with “Translation,” but disembarked at her hyper-stylised period piece, will probably be relieved to hear that, for her next effort, Coppola is returning to the contemporary, serio-comic territory (and studio) of the former film — luxury hotel setting included. Variety reports:

Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning will star in the Focus Features dramedy “Somewhere,” which Coppola penned. Story centers on a bad-boy actor stumbling through a life of excess at the Chateau Marmont. With an unexpected visit from his 11-year-old daughter, he is forced to reexamine his life.

The filmmaker, who said she has been looking to make “an intimate story set in contemporary Los Angeles,” received permission to shoot at the hotel, which has become notorious in recent years as a popular address for tabloid-friendly celebs. Film will lense in L.A. and Italy in June and July.

(Incidentally, this is Coppola’s third go-round with a hotel-bound narrative. Anyone remember her father’s excruciatingly precious short “Life Without Zoe” — a riff of sorts on the old Eloise-at-the-Plaza chestnut, scripted by the then-teenaged Sofia?)

Back to “Somewhere,” it sounds like a typically nebulous foundation for the director’s trademark pastel-hued atmospherics, which is fine by me. I’m intrigued by the casting: Dorff’s rough-hewn presence seems ostensibly at odds with the woozy femininity of Coppola’s aesthetic, but that contrast could reap rewards — just as Bill Murray’s tartness lifted “Lost in Translation” out of potential navel-gazing. Fanning, meanwhile, continues to land in one artsy project after another. (Perhaps she should choose her sister’s scripts too.)

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19 responses so far

  • 1 4-17-2009 at 8:35 am

    James D. said...

    I hope she comes back strong. Lost in Translation was so flawless.

  • 2 4-17-2009 at 10:12 am

    Bernardo said...

    She is a pure talent and I hope this can be such beautiful and sensitive as the others.
    On the other hand, there are so much better actors then S. Dorff. I could make a list right now…but, will see.

  • 3 4-17-2009 at 10:46 am

    Robert Hamer said...

    I maintain that Lost in Translation really was the best film of 2003, though I can see how an argument could be made for City of God.

    Also, am I the only one who thinks Sofia Coppola is smoking hot?

  • 4 4-17-2009 at 12:10 pm

    Ben said...

    She is smoking hot. But pretty overrated.

  • 5 4-17-2009 at 1:12 pm

    John H. Foote said...

    Overrated? You are kidding right? The woman directed and wrote a masterpiece in ‘Lost in Translation” and then made the wonderfully daring “Marie Antoinette”, taking chances that no one else would dare to take — and let’s not forget that massive shadown she is standing in — I love her work and look forward to everything she does…overrated??? Nope.

  • 6 4-17-2009 at 1:52 pm

    Ben said...

    I think Lost in Translation is probably the most overrated film of the decade. And was decidedly lukewarm on Antoinette.

  • 7 4-17-2009 at 3:07 pm

    Bernardo said...

    Lost in Translation is a masterpiece and was the best film of that year. And Virgin Suicides was also beautiful and touching.
    My God, Ben, it’s because of people like you, that talents like Sophia are snobed.

  • 8 4-17-2009 at 3:08 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Robert: Ha, you wish you were the only one. Virtually every guy I know (myself included) fancies Sofia Coppola. How can you not?

  • 9 4-17-2009 at 3:32 pm

    Ben said...

    I didn’t know I was “snobbing” her or that she was being “snobbed.” But I hardly think I’m making things hard on her, by not liking her work. She has enough breaks as is, I think.

  • 10 4-17-2009 at 3:40 pm

    Bernardo said...

    But saying that Lost in T. is “probably the most overrated film of the decade”… That is just ridiculous. It was such a profund and different movie.
    And nowadays it’s really hard to see american movies with something to say and that make you think a little bit.

  • 11 4-17-2009 at 4:00 pm

    R.J. said...

    What the hell is wrong with me? As much as I try to keep up on movies, there’s always that one “classic” or highly revered film that I have yet to see. In this case, it’s Lost In Translation. The funny thing is, I have no idea why I haven’t seen it. I adore Sophia Coppola (loved The Virgin Suicides AND Marie Antoinette) and I certainly have no aversion to Bill Murray or Scarlett Johansson…so I can’t understand why I haven’t seen this film. It just seems like something else always come along to take my attention off of it, but sooner or later I’ll get around to actually watching it. For right now I’m just going to wallow in the embarrassment of admitting that I’ve never seen a film thats so beloved. Oh well.

  • 12 4-17-2009 at 4:04 pm

    The InSneider said...

    I think I’m with Ben in calling LIT at least “one of” the most overrated movies of the decade. And Marie Antoinette was BAD. And Virgin Suicides was OK. She is DEFINITELY one of the most overrated filmmakers alive right now. I really believe that the only reason she’s making movies in the first place is her name, and the only reason she’s gotten good press is that the media is desperate to crown a female filmmaker. Even Diablo Cody is a better writer than her, and Bigelow blows both of them out of the water talent-wise. This new film sounds intriguing but Dorff? The same guy who walked around with his dick hanging out and shoved a pool cue up some guy’s ass in Shadowboxer? The dude from XIII with Val Kilmer? He’s going from an NBC mini to the lead in a Coppola film? Best of luck with that, Sofia.

  • 13 4-17-2009 at 4:06 pm

    Bernardo said...

    R.J., you really have to see it then. If you love the other ones, this is unforgettable. And it’s her best.
    Before seeing anything that is not worthy, please watch this.

  • 14 4-17-2009 at 4:09 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    “Even Diablo Cody is a better writer than her,”

    Swear to blog?

  • 15 4-17-2009 at 7:10 pm

    Glenn said...

    I’m sure people were confused when people read that Bill Murray of all people would be the quasi romantic lead with Scarlett Johansson in an upcoming movie called “Lost in Translation” but she made it work. In fact, Coppola relishes is oddball casting. “Marie Antoinette” alone had Rip Torn, Marianne Faithful and Jason Schwarzmann.

    I can understand finding “Lost in Translation” overrated (I, however, this it’s a masterpiece. best of 2003 if I remember correctly) but Coppola herself as overrated? You mean the woman who was so incredibly panned for her acting in “Godfather Part III” that she never did it again? The same woman whose “Marie Antoinette” was mauled by so many people and (apparently) booed at Cannes? That Sofia Coppola? Yeah… that doesn’t make ANY sense at all.

  • 16 4-18-2009 at 12:59 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Glenn: My thoughts exactly. (As for Murray, though, I thought the only false note in the movie — and in an otherwise impeccable casting coup — was that he played an action-film star. A simple script adjustment would have ironed that right out, amusing as the thought was.)

  • 17 4-29-2009 at 11:21 pm

    matt said...

    she seems like rich bi*#h who writes about eccentric rich people. i dont really feel her casts are even that oddball either. jason schwartzman has been done, and its getting old. scarlett johanson is hard to watch for me(im sure not for others,ovbiously). LOst in TRanslation from an acting viewpoint was good, scarlett and bill had great chemistry. but best Screenplay? the movie was soo boring. i guess she won cause there wasnt much competition, but that screenplay was nothing special. – a love story in comparison that keeps one completely entranced the whole time, w/ incrdible dialogue, camera angles, and an INTERESTING plot(w/a real oddball cast). the story takes loops and turns of excitement and insanity while still leaving one the sweet genuine feeling love stories should give off.

    I also didnt like the belittling of Japanese culture in order to keep the audience awak with a few laughs.nice sofia.

    nothing against LIT, jus a little too plain(most people cant relate, unless ur beautiful, rich and white)

  • 18 4-29-2009 at 11:26 pm

    matt said...

    lol i forgot to mention the movie i was referring to.haha (PUNCH DRUNK LOVE) featuring Adam Sandler, Phillip Seymour hoffman, emily watson, and luis guzman. great stuff
    written and directed by PTA

  • 19 9-03-2010 at 8:32 am

    Ross said...

    @ InSneider,
    to me Coppola is a really gifted filmmaker. She’s not the greatest writer out there, but her films usually have the mood and I love that about them. If you ask me (and I was a fan of The Hurt Locker), story-wise Coppola is a more gifted filmmaker than Bigelow, who’s more on the visual side. But that’s just me and I don’t think it’s a great idea to start doing the list thing… (And of course, just as you say that Coppola got the money to make movies because of her name, I could say that Bigelow got to make her movies because of making them within a very male genre.) Yes, LOST IN TRANSLATION is one of my favorite films of the last decade and it’s a film so rich in characters, emotions and visuals that it makes you wanna sink into its beautiful lyrical world. Then again, MARIE ANTOINETTE was never intended to be anything else than what it was. The problem was people expected it to be something else, but I liked it despite of its many flaws. Yes, it has flaws. Yes, the story feels somehow flat. But it often succeeds at portraying the life of a lost girl, who tries to understand, to learn and to live – who tries to remain alive in a place, where she’s not desired and she feels she needs to find a way of feeling happy. What did the people expect? A heavy drama? Probably. Their problem. And one more thing: Sofia Coppola gets all the bashing because of being a Coppola. I like her. I think she’s interesting and I think you better leave all the jealousy behind you. Yes, it’s your right to dislike her, but dismissing her this way and doing it that rudely is what I’m against.