Legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola is moving back to his creative stomping ground of the 1970s, taking offices on the Paramount lot starting next year, TheWrap has learned.
“As of 2013, Francis Ford Coppola will open offices and work out of the Paramount lot. He and Paramount go way back, and he is thrilled to be back there,” said his publicist Leslee Dart in an exclusive statement to TheWrap.
An individual close to Coppola said he was looking to get “creative” and would be moving into the Lubitsch building on the lot. Studio chief Brad Grey welcomed an overture to bring Coppola back to the lot, the individual said.
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Coppola made the monumental “Godfather” series with Paramount, starting in the 1970s, at a time when studio executive Robert Evans (pictured with Coppola) collaborated with a group of iconic filmmakers, including Peter Bogdanovich, Hal Ashby, Terrence Malick and Roman Polanski on a series of landmark films.
Evans hired Coppola to direct the first “Godfather,” which was released in 1972, with an eye to bringing Italian-American authenticity to the Mafia story. Coppola resisted for that very reason but eventually embraced the challenge and went on to make a series of films that became among the most indelible of contemporary movie history, with Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan and many others.
Coppola also made the acclaimed auteur film “The Conversation” in 1974 and “Tucker: The Man and His Dream” in 1988 with Paramount.
The filmmaker and his American Zoetrope company have been based in San Francisco for many years. Coppola has spent much time growing a vineyard and a wine business in the Napa Valley, even as his family spawned a filmmaking dynasty with daughter Sofia and son Roman becoming filmmakers in their own right.
This year, Coppola executive produced “On the Road,” an independent film based on the Jack Kerouac novel that premiered at Cannes and opens domestically Dec. 21, and he made the experimental black-and-white movie “Tetro” in 2009.
Paramount today is very different from when Coppola was making “The Godfather.” The studio was owned by Austrian tycoon Charles Bluhdorn, a temperamental mogul figure from central casting -- the chairman of Gulf & Western -- with a voracious ambition to acquire.
Come to think of it, that may not be altogether different from today, when another mogul from central casting owns Paramount, Sumner Redstone.
Paramount had no immediate comment on Coppola's return.