On Set With Sofia Coppola

The Director and Marc Jacobs Muse Takes Us Behind the Scenes of Somewhere

Sofia Coppola’s latest film Somewhere follows a burned-out movie star (played by Stephen Dorff of Blade fame) whose life is upended when he receives a surprise visit from his young daughter (Elle Fanning). These on-set images were shot by Coppola's friend, the photographer and Californian dreamer Paul Jasmin, at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. Somewhere nabbed the Golden Lion Award at this year’s Venice Film Festival, and is the latest in a string of lauded, quirky romances to come from the filmmaker, the daughter of Hollywood legend Francis Ford Coppola. After her 1999 debut The Virgin Suicides, an irresistible fable of teenage longing and volatility, came 2003’s Lost in Translation, which won her an Academy Award for best original screenplay, followed by the sumptuous Marie Antoinette in 2006. The detail-obsessed director has also turned her talents to fashion, designing a coveted line of “Sofia” bags with Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton. In an exclusive interview we asked Coppola about the new film (which features a score by her boyfriend Thomas Mars’s band Phoenix), heroic female leads and good taste.
 
Your stories are told through the perspective of young, innocent girls. Is this a conscious decision? 

Well, Somewhere is told more from the point of view of the Johnny Marco character [played by Stephen Dorff], but yes, we do see an exotic world through the eyes of his daughter Cleo [Elle Fanning]. They have a link because I guess I like these kind of girls. Charlotte [Lost in Translation] and Cleo are thoughtful observers. I like girls that have to break out of their environment to define themselves in their own way.

Your films also deal tenderly with father/daughter relationships. How attuned to that are you?

I don't know, I was thinking about becoming a parent for the first time when I was writing Somewhere, so it was on my mind, but it's true, Lost in Translation has that. I like that memorable and romantic relationships can exist in an innocent way.

Somewhere is populated by objects and people of great beauty, stripped, it seems, of everything but their talismanic power. What are you getting at here?

I wanted to show the contrast between Johnny Marco's superficial and genuine worlds, that a life of just room service girls and Ferraris aren't fulfilling on their own (though it sounds good).
 
You are known for your effortless taste—where do you think that comes from? 

Oh, I don't know, thanks. I think you just put what you like or think is funny or stupid in your work––taste is just a reflection of what you like, I guess.
 
With the film wrapped, what are you up to at the moment?

I'm enjoying my two daughters and spending time in NY, traveling to promote this film, and procrastinating getting back to writing.


In addition to the Chateau Marmont, Coppola chats about her favorite hotels around the world here.
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