Francis Ford Coppola is enjoying the reception meeting his “Tetro” newcomer Alden Ehrenreich, who’s being likened to Leonardo DiCaprio. “With all my instincts, I believe he’s a young star of tomorrow,” Coppola tells us.
He’s also enjoying the fresh burst of appreciation his June 11-premiering drama is bringing star Vincent Gallo. And he says, “I hope I can get to work with them again in the future. You know what happens when actors become successful – they become mini-industries for their managers and agents and it becomes hard to get to them. It’s happened before.”
The cinema master, whose arresting, mostly black-and-white \”Tetro\” was a Cannes sensation, recalls, “Even in my first career, as it were, we were never able to hire the star of the day. We couldn’t penetrate all the elements of management, payment and schedule. We were always looking for new talent in the past — new talent to the public. Then oddly enough, by the next film we couldn’t afford the young people we had discovered.”
If unknowns are gettable, so are actors whose careers can use some rehabilitation. For instance, “Marlon Brando. Nobody wanted to hire him in those days, when we did ‘The Godfather” nobody, because of his alleged bad boy behavior,” Coppola recalls. “So he was available to me.”
Now it’s Gallo, whose past controversies and nasty comments turned off many, proving his acting worth anew, playing a writer who’s left his famous father behind and created a life of anonymity in Buenos Aires – until his 17-year-old brother (Ehrenreich) comes looking for him.
“Tetro” marks the first film Coppola scripted himself since 1974’s “The Conversation” and his second self-financed smaller budget film (following “Youth Without Youth”). Reviews have been anything but bland, with love and hate both represented. The Economist calls it “the film of a free man starting again.”
Is it? “That’s a little dramatic, but yes, I am definitely having the fun and adventure of a second film career with different rules to it,” Coppola says. “I’m doing more of what I wanted to do.”
OUT OF THE FISHBOWL: Lauren Conrad, who rose to fame on “Laguna Beach” and most recently “The Hills,” has left the popular MTV reality series, and she tells us the decision has been bittersweet. Luckily she has a lot of new projects on the horizon to keep her occupied without TV cameras following her every move. “It’s nice. I’ve been done for like two months and I’m really enjoying no cameras,” says Conrad. “It’s always sad saying goodbye to a show and all the people that worked on it, though.” When asked what’s next, she responds, “Right now I am writing my second book. The first one launches on the 16th and then I’m going on a two week book tour. I’m also working with Kohl’s department store for a line that launches in October so I’m keeping busy.”
RECREATIONAL VEHICLE: “We got picked up for a second season so we’ll start filming again in a couple of months,” says an excited Aziz Ansari about his newest show “Parks and Recreation.” “People seem to be into it, and it helps to be on a network with other smart comedies like ‘The Office’ and ’30 Rock.'” Though the NBC series, which started with six episodes, was met with mixed reviews, the comedian thinks having more time to explore the characters will help. “I feel like the show is really good and is only going to get better. I think Amy Poehler’s great in this role, and as the show goes along, she’ll get in there and make it a really memorable character.” So far, though, it’s been Ansari’s sarcastic character, Tom Haverford, that’s been stealing many of the scenes. “It’s fun to play kind of a p—-. They write so many fun bits for him, but I also get to improvise a lot,” he tells us. “The scripts are already really funny so it doesn’t feel like there’s as much pressure to be funny, but it’s nice to have the freedom to come up with my own stuff.”
NEW FACES: The Disney/ABC new talent showcase launches today (6/5) with casting forces heading out on a nationwide trek to audition wannabe stars. The operation is being met with shaking of heads around these parts, as one industryite grumps, “They’re going out since there’s no talent here in town.” By the way, don’t call us.
With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster