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Sofia Coppola

Sofia_Coppola_Cannes_2013Perhaps only Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray could have pulled off the star studded Christmas special A Very Murray Christmas for NetFlicks this festive season. Bill Murray announced his and Sofia’s plan to make a comedy holiday season extravaganza on the Ellen Degeneres show in late 2014, and in 2015 an all star cast including; Bill Murray, George Clooney, Paul Shaffer, Amy Poehler, Julie White, Dimitri Dimitrov, Michael Cera, Chris Rock, David Johansen, Maya Rudolph, Jason Schwartzman, Jenny Lewis, Rashida Jones, and Miley Cyrus showed up to play the fool and sing for delighted audiences.

Sofia Coppola is undeniably one of the finest American Directors of the 2000’s and is often cited as such. Coppola is also a much needed female presence and recognised talent in a largely male dominated industry, with a string of very fine films to her name. Her talent for Writing and Directing character led emotive films in which everything happens between the lines in privileged, vacuous and unkind social cultures has become a recognisable style all her own.

She has won respect in the industry and awards across the board; nominated for three Academy Awards for her 2003 film Lost in Translation, in the categories of Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay, Coppola also won the Best Motion Picture and Best Screenplay Golden Globes, in addition to receiving three BAFTA Award nominations for the film.

Sofia’s nomination for Best Director made her the first American woman in history to be nominated in that category, and the third woman overall, after Lina Wertmüller and Jane Campion. In 2010, Kathryn Bigelow became the fourth woman to be nominated, and the first to win the award. Coppola, however, remains the youngest woman to be nominated in the Best Director category. In 2010 her film Somewhere won the Golden Lion, the top prize at the Venice International Film Festival, making Coppola is the first American woman to win the award.

BACKGROUND

Sofia Coppola was born on May 14, 1971 in New York City, New York, USA as Sofia Carmina Coppola. She is the youngest child of Francis Ford Coppola and the only daughter of his wife Eleanor, a set decorator and visual artist whom he married in 1963. Her brothers Roman Coppola and Gian-Carlo Coppola are both involved in the film industry, as is her cousin Nicholas Cage.

Coppola’s acting career began young as the infant Michael Francis Rizzi in the baptism scene of The Godfather. She appeared in seven of her father’s films. Sofia played an immigrant child in the second Godfather and Michael Corleone’s daughter in Godfather III. She appeared alongside Matt Dillon in The Outsiders, with Dennis Hopper in Rumblefish, as Kathleen Turner’s onscreen sister in Peggy Sue Got Married and with Richard Gere in The Cotton Club.

She was cast independently of her father in Frankenweenie in 1984. But she did not find her stride or her passion until she began to experiment with Writing and Directing films. Her first experience of writing came with he 1989 short film –  Life Without Zoe – which was released as part of a tripartite anthology film New York Stories, and was co-written by a teenage Coppola with her father, who also directed the film.

Sofia had a successful career in modelling and fashion. She appeared in Seventeen and YM, and was the ‘face’ of Marc Jacob’s house fragrance, and had a handbag called the ‘Sofia’ designed in her honour. She also Directed some high profile television commercials for fashion brands. As if all that wasn’t enough Coppola also appears in music videos: The Black Crowes’ “Sometimes Salvation”; Sonic Youth’s “Mildred Pierce”; Madonna’s “Deeper and Deeper”; The Chemical Brothers’ “Elektrobank”, which was directed by her future husband Spike Jonze; and later Phoenix’s “Funky Squaredance”.

Her love affair with music and music videos continued with her Directing videos for “This Here Giraffe” by The Flaming Lips, “Playground Love” by Air, “City Girl” by Kevin Shields, “I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself” by The White Stripes and “Chloroform” by Phoenix. Her skillful use of popular music in her feature films and her second marriage also show her deep affinity with music.

In 1999, Coppola married Director Spike Jonze but they divorced in 2003. It is widely believed that a minor character in Lost in Translation is based on Jonze. Sofia is now happily married to French musician Thomas Mars. They met while producing the soundtrack to The Virgin Suicides and married in 2011. They have two daughters: Romy and Cosima and live in Paris.

FILM CAREER

Coppola’s first short film was Lick the Star made in 1998 which became popular on the Independent Film Channel. Her first feature film was The Virgin Suicides which starred her previous co-star Kathleen Turner and premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim.

Lost in Translation followed in 2003, starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. Sofia’s win for best original screenplay for this film made her a third-generation Oscar winner.

2006 biopic Marie Antoinette saw Kirsten Dunst play the title character, who marries King Louis XVI, played by Jason Schwartzman, Coppola’s cousin.

Somewhere  was released in 2010 with a  plot focused on an actor portrayed by Stephen Dorff whose life is turned upside down  is forced when his daughter, played by Elle Fanning, arrives unexpectedly.

The Bling Ring (2013) was based on the true story of a group of California teenagers who burgled the homes of several celebrities, stealing around $3 million in cash and belongings. It starred Emma Watson,Taissa Farmiga,Leslie Mann, Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, and Claire Julien.
American Zoetrope successfully attained the screen rights for the memoir Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father.  Coppola plans to adapt the book with Andrew Durham and produce the film with her brother Roman. There was also a rumour that Coppola was in negotiations to direct a live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid but dropped out of the film due to creative differences.

A Very Murray Christmas was released in December 2015 by Netflix to great acclaim and success.

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