Coppola, who is currently putting the final touches on "Youth Without Youth," his first film in a decade, plans to next produce and direct "Tetro." The film will follow the rivalries born out of creative differences passed down through generations of an artistic Italian immigrant family not unlike Coppola's.
Set in Argentina (not Coppola's native New York), "Tetro" fictionalizes what Coppola calls his "very unusual family," which has been populated by artists since his father's generation.
"I think at this age, I'm more disposed to look at my life in terms of dramatic material," the 67-year-old filmmaker said Tuesday, speaking from his home in Napa Valley, Calif. "Maybe I'm less frightened or more confident about writing something that is fiction even though it has its basis in real things that I've seen and felt. Maybe it won't offend anybody, I hope."
Coppola remembers wasted time spent where family members weren't speaking for years -- but he happily assures that in his family now, "everybody is talking."
Coppola's announcement perhaps most signified that the director is now clearly embarking on new active period in his career after a dormant decade following 1997's "The Rainmaker." The change was partly sparked by Coppola's abandonment of his long-planned futuristic epic "Megalopolis," which he has shelved in place of smaller, more personal films.
"Youth Without Youth," starring Tim Roth, was filmed in Romania and is due out in the second half of 2007. The experience, Coppola says, reinvigorated him.
"It's a very big change of the type of career that I had before. I always wanted to be a filmmaker who wrote his own original material," he says, recalling his earlier movies "The Conversation" (1974) and "The Rain People" (1969).
Coppola now hopes to write and direct films at the pace of Woody Allen -- something he can finance partly because of the success of his wine business.
"I view this as the career I always wished I could have," Coppola says. "Now, I'm in a place where I can be my own patron."
"Tetro" will star Matt Dillon, Coppola's third film with the actor, the other two being 1983's back-to-back "The Outsiders" and "Rumble Fish." Production is scheduled to begin in Buenos Aires late this year.