Robert Rodriguez's New 'Director's Chair' Discussion with Coppola
by Jeremy Kirk
March 3, 2015
Director Robert Rodriguez has possibly come up with the coolest idea for a TV interview show, especially for fans of cinema. "The Director's Chair," airing on Rodriguez's El Rey Network, shows the Desperado filmmaker sitting down for a casual chat with some of the best filmmakers alive. Previous episodes already showed discussions with John Carpenter, Guillermo del Toro, and a Quentin Tarantino two-parter. For his fifth and latest installment, premiering this week, Rodriguez talks with director Francis Ford Coppola, one of the greatest maverick filmmakers who gave us some of the very best the art form has to offer.
Rodriguez's format for the show is not the typical Q&A most director's commonly sit down for (see more examples at elreynetwork.com). He has more of a conversation with them, casually interviewing them about their careers, their films, and both their successes and failures. Coppola doesn't shy away from the failures in his filmography, and he'd be the first one to admit he has a few.
The true greats, though, those triumphs of sound and moving picture that truly stand the test of time and deserve to be called "Masterpieces," are found much more frequently throughout Coppola's career. The Godfather I and II, The Conversation, and Apocalypse Now make up a small sample of the films Coppola is responsible for, and any director or would-be filmmaker would be ecstatic having just one of them under his or her belt. Hell, most filmmakers would be happy making one movie half as good as any of those.
In conjunction with the premiere airing of the episode, El Rey Network will be showing The Conversation, the quietly suspenseful paranoia thriller Coppola made between the first two Godfather films. Gene Hackman stars as Harry Caul, a surveillance expert hired to tape the conversation of a young couple. What begins as a seemingly mundane job slowly grows into a full-fledged murder conspiracy.
Coppola made the film, released in 1974, as an homage to Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 thriller, Blow-Up, and the admiration is clear. Nestled in between the grand-scale epic size of The Godfather films, The Conversation achieves some of the finest suspense ever created in film and with a completely minimalist attitude towards action. Coppola accomplishes so very much with so very little in the film, and, even against the likes of The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, many would argue for The Conversation as his best film.
Be sure to check out the premiere of the episode featuring Robert Rodriguez chatting with Francis Ford Coppola on "The Director's Chair" on El Rey Network this week, and definitely stick around for Coppola's The Conversation afterwards. Check out El Rey's website for availability in your area, and listings on when the show will play again. In the meantime, you can get more info on the show from El Rey. And check out this poster they made to promote this episode with Coppola (featuring characters from some of his films):
Above you can see a beautiful poster artist Joshua Budich designed for the "The Director's Chair" episode that pays tribute to Coppola's exceptional body of work. Stunning artwork in tribute to a filmmaking legend.