Director Roman Coppola

Yesterday, we sat down with writer and director Roman Coppola to talk about his new film, A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III. This morning, he was nominated for an Oscar as a writer for the screenplay of Moonrise Kingdom, one of his many collaborations with Wes Anderson. Coincidence?

He shared his thoughts on everything from his musical inspirations and his favorite of the Godfather films to whatever the hell is going on with Jason Schwartzman’s hair.





I thought we might start by talking about music. CQ, your first feature, has an amazing soundtrack, and you’ve done a lot of music videos. What’s the music like in Glimpse?
I’m incredibly proud of the music in this film. The composer and the songwriter, Liam Hayes, was a big inspiration for the entire movie. He’s been the soundtrack for my existence for the last couple of years—I literally wrote the movie to his music, to his earlier works, some of which we’re using in the film—and then he also did some new stuff for us.


In the movie, Charlie Sheen’s character is a graphic designer who does record covers. Did that inspire the movie?
Very much so—the whole movie’s supposed to look like an album cover from the mid-’70s.

What else did you draw from?
I’ll often see an image—for example, Jack Nicholson in the mid-’70s, accepting an Oscar and wearing sunglasses and a velvet blazer—and then I grab on and start to build from it.

Jack Nicholson in 1975, after winning the Academy Award for Best Actor for One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

Nicholson winning Best Actor at the Academy Awards in 1975

It’s also not meant to be literally in the ’70s. A more glamorous version, maybe—channeling certain people from that time and place. 1970s David Geffen, Bob Evans, Jack Nicholson, Anjelica Huston, Bryan Ferry—people in that scene. I latched onto the way they wore their hair, their makeup, the way they dressed and manners.

Are the ’70s the primary inspiration for the clothes in the film, too?
The mid-’70s were a time when there was a rediscovery of the ’30s, of Depression-era imagery—Fred and Ginger movies, classic Hollywood, art deco, neon signs, all of which I drew from. So the movie, from a style point of view, is more like a ’70s-era fascination with the ’30s.

Specifically, there was a velvet YSL jacket that I have Charlie wear, that I loved, and the high-waisted sailor pants that Katheryn Winnick’s in. There’s just so much great clothing from that time that I wanted to see my characters wear.

Do you have a personal style philosophy?
Yes: stick with what’s perennial. For women, I think that fashion is fantastic—something new and evolving each season. But for a man (or at least for me, I don’t want to speak for anyone else), if I can’t get it year after year, I don’t want it.

So, a Lacoste shirt, that’s in the yes column. I wear suits from Battistoni, because I can get them a certain way and they’re always that way. It’s not necessarily about being snobbish, either. For instance, I only wear Gold Toe socks, which I buy at Macy’s.

Do you ever “go long”? Buy classics in bulk?
Ha, I don’t know. The last time I did that, I bought five pairs of shoes. But they cost like six euros each. I was at this weird little beach shop in Sicily, and I found these shoes, and figured I’d buy five pairs.

Are there any trends in menswear that you’re not supportive of?
I don’t want to be that guy—anyone’s welcome to wear whatever they like. But I will say that in the airport, you see a lot of sweatpants and sweat suits. When I was a kid, you’d go to the airport and it was pretty glamorous; people would get dressed up to travel. Now that’s not the case.

When you fly, are you in a suit?
Most of the time.

So, before this interview, we asked around, and the thing people most wanted us to ask you was: “Charlie Sheen?”
You know, Charlie is fantastic. I had to chase him for a bit to get him to commit to taking the role, but once he did, he totally came through for me. He was very professional—knew all of his lines, was very present on set—he even learned Spanish and how to sing in Portuguese. He really went for it, and I’m grateful to him and for the performance he gave.

The movie’s also about a guy after a terrible breakup. Do you feel like you came away from it with any wisdom for a lovelorn reader?
I’d hate to have a moral or “tips.” I maybe hope that when you’re in the midst of something like that—that’s so uprooting and distressing that you think you’ll never recover—that it’s a reminder that with time, it’ll all work out, and with some thoughtfulness, maybe you won’t repeat the same mistakes.

Okay, lightning round: what’s the best Godfather movie?
I don’t want to pick favorites—I love them all.

The most stylish movie of all time is…
Flying Down to Rio. Or maybe Bombshell with Jean Harlow.

Schwartzman in Coppola’s new movie

And the most stylish city in the world?
Tokyo. It’s so beautiful and exotic that it transcends the word “style.”

Your best working-with-Bill-Murray anecdote?
It is impossible to think of just one thing. He’s just so funny and so full of life—it’s always an adventure around him.

Most stylish cast member: Charlie Sheen, Jason Schwartzman or Bill Murray?
Well, if you call wearing a Chicago Bears poncho with everything “stylish,” then it would be Bill.

And if you don’t?
Then it would be Jason. He has quite a nice sense of style.

Is that actually Jason’s hair?
I don’t know if I’m legally allowed to tell you that.

You are.
It’s a wig. The hair on his face is real—the hair on his head is not.

—B.R.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Ben Reininga