New Yorker - "Sofia Coppola’s Path to Filming Gilded Adolescence"
By Rachel Syme
"At the time, Coppola was married to the director Spike Jonze, whom she’d met in the early nineties through her friends Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore, of the band Sonic Youth. But the two were in the process of separating. Jonze released his own feature directorial début, “Being John Malkovich,” the same year that “The Virgin Suicides” premièred, and while Coppola’s film had a modest return his became an indie sensation. She recalled feeling, in their relationship, an echo of her mother’s experiences. Jonze and a few of his friends had discussed launching a directors’ collective, and, according to Coppola, they didn’t even invite her to join. “I don’t want to embarrass Spike and those guys,” she said. “I think it’s just about understanding the dynamic there, which was a very nineties, dudes’-club dynamic. I was going around with Spike to promote his films, and I was just kind of the wife.” (Jonze could not be reached for comment.)
She was surprised when “Lost in Translation” became a runaway hit, not only winning her an Oscar but earning more than a hundred million dollars worldwide on a four-million-dollar budget. “I thought I was writing this really indulgent piece,” she recalled. “I mean, who cares about some rich girl trying to find herself?” But audiences connected to the film’s fuzzed-out mood of dislocation and the tragicomic pleasures of two lost people finding each other for a moment in time. At the end of the film, Bob and Charlotte share a kiss, and he whispers something inaudible into her ear. “I never even wrote that line,” Coppola said. “Bill always said that it was something that should stay between them.”
There is an adage in Hollywood that actors want to win awards to boost their egos, whereas directors want to win awards to boost their budgets. After “Lost in Translation,” Coppola found herself courted by the major studios. The producer Amy Pascal, who was a top executive at Sony Pictures at the time, told me, “I was desperate to work with her.” When they met, in 2004, she asked Coppola what project she dreamed of making. Coppola answered immediately: “Marie Antoinette.”