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Francis Ford Coppola Accused of Trying to Kiss Extras on ‘Megalopolis’ Set

As anticipation for the premiere of “Megalopolis,” Francis Ford Coppola’s first film in more than a decade, built to a fever pitch at Cannes, the director faced accusations Tuesday that he tried to kiss extras during a nightclub sequence.

A report in The Guardian detailing the film’s chaotic production said that according to anonymous sources, Coppola pulled women to sit on his lap, and tried to kiss scantily clad extras.

In response, a representative for Coppola referred to a statement from the executive producer Darren Demetre, published by The Hollywood Reporter, in which he said, “I was never aware of any complaints of harassment or ill behavior during the course of the project.” Demetre also noted in the statement that during two days of shooting a “celebratory Studio 54-esque club scene,” the director “walked around the set to establish the spirit of the scene by giving kind hugs and kisses on the cheek to the cast and background players. It was his way to help inspire and establish the club atmosphere, which was so important to the film.”

The article focused largely on the movie’s unusual production conditions and, citing an unnamed crew member, said that Coppola stayed in his trailer for hours at a time, delaying filming.

Mariela Comitini, a first assistant director on “Megalopolis,” told The Times through a representative, “I can say working alongside Francis Ford Coppola was an honor. I watched as Francis created a vibrant, professional and positive environment on set, and I wish I could be part of the celebration in Cannes. As one of the industry’s most well-respected master filmmakers, Francis was undaunted by the enormity of this undertaking, and he finished the film on time and on budget.”

The report was published in advance of the film’s Thursday premiere in the Cannes competition, where the stakes are high since the movie has yet to find U.S. distribution. (After an early screening for buyers, one source told Puck: “There are zero commercial prospects and good for him.”) On Tuesday, Coppola, best known as the director of the “Godfather” trilogy, posted a teaser for the dystopian “Megalopolis” that reflected ancient Roman influences and featured hallucinatory special effects.

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