Gia Coppola had a famous filmmaking surname, a promising debut film under her belt and a timely idea about skewering net influencer civilization, but it still took almost seven years to get"Mainstream" off the ground
The narrative of a folksy truth-teller who rises to dangerous heights of popularity and influence on television appeared strangely prescient (and this was before it became"trendy" again after the 2016 presidential election). The image of Andy Griffith laughing maniacally stayed with her.
At the same time, she was watching the rise of internet stars from afar and wondering where artwork fits in a universe where everyone just wants to watch other people play video games and unbox toys.
"I've always sort of felt a bit as an alien or something. What I enjoy is quite different, I think, than what most people like," Coppola, 34, said. "I think now due to the internet it's more on your face of what makes gratification."
The movie, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, is currently in theatres and on demand Friday.
But with a surname such as Coppola, a well-reviewed debut film under her belt and a timely topic, it wasn't a simple or straightforward path to obtaining"Mainstream" made. Her 2013 movie" Palo Alto" was an evocative look at the lives of suburban teens that had over a few folks throwing out positive comparisons to her aunt, Sofia Coppola. But this, she understood, was decidedly weirder.
Things began to fall into place after she met Garfield through Greta Seacat, an acting coach they work with. Coppola does not wish to act. "Nothing terrifies me more," she said. It is just a means to a deeper understanding of actors.
And in Garfield, she found not only an actor she's always admired but a kindred soul and a collaborator who'd introduce her into a co-writer, Tom Stuart, in addition to consent to star in and produce the film. They spent a great deal of time up in what he calls"Camp Coppola" in Napa workshopping the concepts that would wind up on screen, such as when Hawke's character Frankie vomits animated emojis to a sink.
"We became fast friends and felt that a sweet kind of creative link and shared a similar kind of childish of comedy," Garfield said. "She is such a gentle soul."
Not only would he get to help a friend realize her creative vision, he'd also get to play and experiment a little himself with this scariest of concepts: Unlikability.
"There's an anxiety about being liked by an audience and also a pressure to make characters that have a likability," Garfield said.
His character, Link, is a kind of street corner philosopher/exhibitionist, allowing him access any"Off-putting and gruesome and darker elements of ourselves"
It also provided an opportunity to go off the rails using a crazy character who at one stage runs down Hollywood Boulevard (mostly) naked.
This was one of my favorite moments of my entire life. I can't believe you did that for me.' And I am sitting there , let us (expletive) do it !" Garfield stated. "How often does one get a opportunity to run across Hollywood Boulevard with their ass cheeks hanging out and not get arrested?"
The guerilla-style stunt,'' he said, was just like,"Thieving the reality of the men and women who happened to be about the block at that time and feeling as you're producing something which was completely living."
A lot of the movie is set in and around the ugly-beautiful stretches of that famous street, near where Coppola was increased and now chooses to live as an adult.
"I have a profound love for it and what it signifies to folks on the outside and how it's so unglamorous but there is so many amazing personalities," Coppola said. "It feels like a metaphor for Los Angeles in a sense ."
It was a fast shoot, only 19 days, along with a family affair. Her mother, Jacqui Getty, did the outfits. Her uncle Jason Schwartzman co-stars.
Garfield described the Coppolas as a,"soulful artistic hub"
"it is a really generous family," he said. "And it is very, very cool to be included in that world for a period of time."
And Coppola's interests go beyond attribute filmmaking.
She moved to bartending school, educated at Thomas Keller's now-defunct Beverly Hills offshoot of Bouchon, includes a bachelor's in photography in Bard College, does film and photo shoots for fashion brands (she met Hawke on a Zac Posen project) and can be deeply involved with the wine tag that bears not only her name but her pictures on the labels. She wanted the roses to be unpretentious and represent exactly how she and her buddies selected bottles in their 20s. It's part of the reason there's a bottle cap shirt rather than a cork.
Yet no matter the medium -- wine, fashion, photography, film -- the aesthetic is always intractably and beguilingly her own. And now that she's gotten"Mainstream" from her system, she feels like she's open to everything and anything and even trying different genres -- in her own method of course.
"I'm just so proud of her."