Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Through the Lens: Gia Coppola's "Palo Alto"

Gia Coppola photographed by Lauren Dukoff for Lula Magazine.

Gia Coppola has had her fair share of time both in front of and behind the lens, as a model (most recently for the Gap and Coach) and director of short fashion films (for the likes of Zac Posen and Diane Von Furstenberg). She makes her feature film directorial and screenwriting debut with the teen drama Palo Alto, based on a collection of short stories by James Franco that centers around the troubles and travails of teens growing up in Southern California.  The film, which stars Franco, Emma Roberts, Claudia Levy, Jack Kilmer and Zoe Levin, has had its festival run and is slated for a spring release date.

Coppola told Dazed she felt inspired to take on the project because she "hadn’t really read anything or seen anything that felt truthful to what it’s like to be a teenager...the dialogue was also really spot on. It felt real." At a panel at the Venice Film Festival, Franco explained how the collaboration came together:
I didn't want to adapt it [the book] myself... if I did that it would just be one more iteration of what I'd already done and I liked the idea that I could give it to somebody else and that it would be, you know, transformed or somehow filtered through someone else's vision.  
Gia had the right spirit...we were in-sync aesthetically.  That she was doing stuff with youth and really bringing out the spirit of youth in a way that kind of transcended teen genre stuff and I thought that was perfect and that was exactly what I was trying to do with the book.  So I contacted her and I think I said 'this might be crazy but I think you should direct the movie version of this book and she read it and she said she was interested. It took a little while, it took a couple years, I guess, but she put it together.  And I had faith -- she hadn't done a feature -- but I had faith that she was the right person and that she would be able to do it. And I think I was right.
Check out the trailer, which features a new song by Dev Hynes of Blood Orange written for the movie (he also wrote the score, which is something to look forward to):

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