September 3, 2010 / 1:11 PM / 9 years ago

Sofia Coppola takes insider's look at Hollywood A-lister

VENICE (Reuters) - Sofia Coppola’s latest movie is a Hollywood insider’s look at the life of an A-list actor — five star hotels and Ferraris, adoration and sexual advances, but also loneliness, tiresome media attention and boredom.

Sofia Coppola, director of the in-competition film "Somewhere", poses with actors Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning during a photocall at the 67th Venice Film Festival September 3, 2010. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

“Somewhere” is part comedy and part examination of a man’s personal crisis, as Johnny Marco, played by Stephen Dorff, is finally forced to face the question of where a life so enviable on the surface is ultimately heading.

The daughter of director Francis Ford Coppola and an Oscar winner for her screenplay of “Lost in Translation” was in a rain-drenched Venice on Friday for the new film’s world premiere.

Like Lost in Translation before it, much of the action is set in a hotel — this time the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, a well known hangout for Hollywood glitterati, where Marco takes up residence following the breakdown of his marriage.

“We spent a lot of time going out, living in hotels when we were on location with my dad, so I always find when you are living in a hotel it’s like a world in itself,” the 39-year-old said after the film was warmly applauded at a press screening.

“I like hotels for settings, they are an impermanent place. A lot of the characters I am interested in are in a moment of transition and it seems fitting that they would be in an impermanent setting.”

Coppola added that she wanted “to tell the story from a guy’s point of view, something about the emotional life of men who are different for me.”


Numbed with pills and alcohol, Marco drifts from one party and partner to another, hires scantily-clad pole dancers to perform in his room and looks on bemused as journalists ask inane questions at press conferences.

The catalyst for change is the unexpected arrival of his 11-year-old daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning), who is left with him for several weeks while her mother goes away.

“I think the movie’s about him becoming a man,” Dorff said of his character.

Asked whether he drew on his own experiences as an actor in the portrayal, he replied: “The one thing that I found very interesting ... there is an isolation that happens to an actor when a film is finished.

“On this film, for example ... it made me really sad when the movie ended. Film actors, we work together for three months and then the movie ends and for me I don’t go to an office every day so I’m kind of left with not knowing what I’m going to do until the next movie arrives.”

Coppola underlines Marco’s ennui with long takes, often without dialogue, including one where Dorff sits and smokes an entire cigarette and another where he drives his Ferrari around the same track time after time.

“Somewhere” has its U.S. theatrical release in late December.

Additional reporting by Silvia Aloisi; editing by Paul Casciato

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