Sofia Coppola may have won an Oscar and a slew of hit films – but she’s also experienced creative disappointment along the way.
In an interview with The New Yorker published on Monday, the Lost In Translation and Priscilla director shared his frustration at not being able to move forward with plans to adapt Edith Wharton’s The Custom Of the Country.
“Apple just pulled out. They withdrew our funds,” he said. “It’s a real drag. I think they have inexhaustible resources.”
First published in 1913, The Custom Of The Country” follows Undine Spragg, a beautiful and ambitious Midwestern woman on a mission to ingratiate herself into New York City’s elite social circles.
Considered by many to be one of Wharton’s finest works, the book offers a satirical look at material wealth and gender roles in Gilded Age society.
In 2020, it was announced that Sofia was teaming up with Apple TV+ to adapt The Custom Of The Country as a five-episode series, with Florence Pugh set to star as Undine.
It’s easy to see how the series would feel right at home in today’s prestige TV landscape, with period dramas like Bridgerton and rags-to-riches satires like The White Lotus becoming critical and commercial hits.
However, about a year later, Sofia said Apple TV+ pulled the plug on her because she didn’t find the protagonist likable enough.Florence Pugh
Monica Schipper via Getty Images
“They didn’t get Undine’s character,” he told The New Yorker. “He was very ‘undesirable’. But so did Tony Soprano!
“It’s like a relationship that you know you probably should have gotten out of a while ago.”
Regarding the series’ production budget, she said it would be equivalent to about “five ‘Marie Antoinettes,’” referring to her 2006 film starring Kirsten Dunst. The project reportedly raised $40 million (around £31 million).
Talk News reached out to Apple TV+ representatives for comment on Coppola’s claims, but did not immediately receive a response.
However, the director’s comments reflect sentiments he previously expressed in an interview with The New York Times last fall.
“The idea of a woman being unlikable is not their cup of tea,” he said at the time. “But that’s what I’m saying about who’s in charge.”
Later, he added: “The people in charge of giving money are usually straight men. There are always people at lower levels who are like me, but the bosses have a certain sensitivity.
“If as an established person, it is very difficult for me to get financing, I am worried that young women will start their businesses. It is surprising that this is still a struggle.”