Eleanor Coppola, Hearts of Darkness director and wife of Francis Ford Coppola, has died at 87

Eleanor Coppola, Hearts of Darkness director and wife of Francis Ford Coppola, has died at 87

Eleanor Coppola, director of the ground-breaking filmmaking documentary Hearts of Darkness and wife of Francis Ford Coppola, has died at 87.

Last Updated on April 25, 2024

Eleanor Coppola, wife of Francis Ford Coppola, has died at the age of 87. She is best known for Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, the 1991 documentary which chronicled the making of Apocalypse Now, the iconic 1979 movie which was plagued with a myriad of issues.

Eleanor first met her future husband on the set of Dementia 13, which was Francis’ feature directorial debut. Eleanor was the assistant art director on the movie and the pair soon began dating before getting married in 1963. Each of their children, Gian-Carlo, Roman, and Sofia, would get into the movie business after spending their childhood years growing up on film sets, although Gian-Carlo sadly died in 1986 at the age of 22.

I don’t know what the family has given except I hope they’ve set an example of a family encouraging each other in their creative process whatever it may be,” Eleanor told The Associated Press in 2017. “It happens in our family that everyone chose to sort of follow in the family business. We weren’t asking them to or expecting them to, but they did. At one point Sofia said, ‘The nut does not fall far from the tree.’

Eleanor documented the making of Apocalypse Now, capturing events such as Martin Sheen’s nervous breakdown and the aftermath of the destruction of an expensive set, which nearly led to the entire project being abandoned. “I was just trying to keep myself occupied with something to do because we were out there for so long,” Eleanor said in 1991. “They wanted five minutes for a TV promotional or something and I thought sooner of later I could get five minutes of film and then it went on to 15 minutes. I just kept shooting but I had no idea … the evolution of myself that I saw with my camera,” continued Eleanor, who ended up shooting 60 hours worth of footage. “So, it was a surprise for both of us and a life changing experience.

Joining forces with co-directors Fax Bahr and George Hickenlooper, Eleanor transformed Hearts of Darkness into one of the best filmmaking documentaries ever made. She went on to helm several documentaries about the making of other films made by family members, including Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. At the age of 80, she made the leap to narrative features with Paris Can Wait, a comedy starring Diane Lane and Alec Baldwin, which Eleanor wrote and directed. She followed that up with Love Is Love Is Love in 2020.

Our thoughts go out to the entire Coppola family during this difficult time. Safe journey, Eleanor.

Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/eleanor-coppola-died/

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