Celebrating the Beauty of Sofia Coppola on Her Birthday

As the daughter to one of cinema’s most treasured directors, filmmaking was in Sofia Coppola’s blood. And after beginning her career as an actress when she was just an infant in The Godfather, Sofia continued working in films well into her twenties, making appearances in everything from The Outsiders and Frankenweenie, to Peggy Sue Got Married and The Godfather Part III. But in 1998 she made the leap over to filmmaking with her short film, Lick the Star before embarking on her directorial debut The Virgin Suicides. Not only does that film hold up as one of her greatest cinematic achievements, but it established her own auteuristic aesthetic.

With each of her films, Coppola brings you into her unique world with an atmospheric style that’s full of melancholy but always delicate and beautiful and impeccably scored. Whether she’s telling the tale of fantastical depressive teens or lavish 18th-century royalty, there’s always a touch that feels distinctly hers. It’s a soft-lit dreamy quality with a heavy-heart and weary eye, that has proved she is much more than just Francis Ford’s daughter.

And as today is Sofia’s birthday, we’ve rounded up some memorable moments from her oeuvre of gorgeous films. Enjoy.

Does It Get Easier?

The Five Lisbon Girls

Making Of: The Virgin Suicides

Marie Antoinette Behind the Scenes

You’re Really Good

Suntory Time

Impossible Excursions

You Look Great

Magic Man

I Want Candy

Playground Love

Bling Ring Clip

Gazing Back at the Stunning Sights & Sounds of Sofia Coppola

Sofia Coppola’s films are ethereal beauties whose aesthetic precision and delicacy mirror the emotionally languid sensibility of her characters. And since her directorial debut with The Virgin Suicides, Coppola’s auteuristic vision has been impressed upon the rest of her work, making her films an extension of her own refined yet sensitive and perceptive demeanor. Infused with an atmospheric haze of melancholy that’s both washed out yet rich with purpose, whether she’s telling the story eccentric teenage girls longing to break free or detached men searching for purpose, her soft palette and pink-lit dreamy aesthetic is always achingly beautiful.

Speaking to Coppola’s use of the color pink, in an article mainly about the iconic underwear in Lost in Translation, it’s been said that:

For Coppola, pink isn’t a color so much as a feminine stop-loss between being young and being happy. In The Virgin Suicides, pink was the air of impenetrability that covered the Lisbon girls like an irremovable veil. In Marie Antoinette, pink arrived as tiered cakes and frivolous attitude, humanizing a young queen entrusted with an angry nation, and in Somewhere, which was effectively a man’s tale, Coppola personified the color into a character, allowing it to grow and take its ultimate form in the shape of a Fanning sister. Johnny Marco’s daughter personified the best of himself that he had allowed to wither, sacrificed to a world intent on using him up. For these women, pink is a problem to be solved or make public, a private ideal they struggle to preserve and share. 

But these fantastically wonderful images that speak volumes about Coppola’s nature as a filmmaker would be far less memorable without her keen eye for pairing the perfect music with a moment. So with The Bling Ring out in theaters this weekend, let’s look back on some of Sofia’s most stunning moments through pictures from her work, alongside the scores that elevated them to something even more magical.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Angela Lindvall Comes Alive on Hallowed Ground in Hollywood

Angela Lindvall, one of the world’s most famous supermodels, is in the shower when I arrive at her Topanga Canyon home. When she emerges, Lindvall, 33, is wearing a silk dashiki and no shoes. She looks like some sort of golden sylph. The Lindvall ranch is a mountainside utopia. It’s easy to see what lured John Phillips here to record Wolf King of L.A. in 1970. “The first time I came out here was to visit [his daughter] Bijou,” Lindvall says in a husky voice that still holds a drip of her native Kansas City, Missouri. “I thought ‘Oh my God, I’m back in the country!’” An organic garden blossoms in front of us, and in the yoga studio she built on her property, her yoga teacher is giving birth. Her yelps punctuate the thrum of bees and the susurrus of apple trees rustling in the warm mistral. This is what 19 years at the top of the fashion game gets you: a chance to check out.

Lindvall, who has graced all the big covers and booked more campaigns than General MacArthur, has severely stemmed her modeling commitments. “Sometimes,” she says, “you need to take a step back to discover what is truly important to you.” Though she commands an astonishing day rate, Lindvall devotes most of her time to training to become a Kundalini yoga teacher, creating the line of sustainable jewelry with John Hardy that debuted in October, working for charities like the National Resources Defense Council, and raising her two sons, William and Sebastian. And, like many beautiful Los Angeles people, she’s trying to break into movies and television.

She’s off to a good start. She’s had cameos in Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere and her brother Roman Coppola’s two features, CQ and A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III. Last season, Lindvall starred as the judge in the hit Lifetime show Project Runway: All-Stars. “It was really difficult to step into Heidi Klum’s shoes,” she admits, “but I had a terrific time.” Lindvall will not appear in the next season, but her explorations on the small screen aren’t finished yet. “I want to do a television show where my boys and I travel around the world, eating worms in Thailand and having crazy adventures.”

In fact, Lindvall’s story illustrates how irresistible the siren call of television is to the fashion world. When Project Runway began in 2004, participation in a television show was considered a fatal mistake. Now, upstart designers, as well as established icons, are clamoring to appear. We at BlackBook aren’t immune, either. The shoot in which Lindvall appears was styled by Taylor Jacobson, a contestant on a television program called Hollywood Unzipped: Stylist Wars on Oxygen and was filmed as part of their finale. Lindvall, meanwhile, was adamant that the article not be a simple fashion spread in which she is treated as a model, which it isn’t, but rather a feature on her as an actress, or at least something else, which it is. “There’s definitely a shelf-life to being a model,” she says. “I’m lucky that it’s even lasted as long as it has. Now, it’s time to focus on my true passions: being a mother to my children and addressing environmental issues.” And if part of that happens to be televised, all the better. Chez Lindvall, everything seems possible.

Stephen Dorff to Sofia Coppola: “You Made Me Cool”

Stephen Dorff is loving life. When we met the actor at the Standard hotel, it was clear he was still riding high off the buzz from his performance in Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere, literally. “I had a Johnny Marco moment last night,” said the 37-year-old actor, referring to his character’s hard-partying ways, which he’d evidently channeled at the Boom Boom Room the night before alongside the likes of Kirsten Dunst and Marc Jacobs at the film’s premiere. Dorff’s also enjoying the sudden attention that comes with playing the lead in a movie made by someone of Coppola’s stature, who only works once every few years. Before our interview began, Dorff asked if I had seen his story in T magazine. When I told him that his costar, Elle Fanning, had a feature in T‘s sister rag New York Times Magazine, Dorff asked one of his handlers why he doesn’t have one. “Someone should call those fuckers,” he half-joked.

But Dorff’s “rediscovery,” as Coppola puts it, is well-deserved. For years, he floated from starring roles in B-movies (FeardotCom) to supporting roles in major releases (Michael Mann’s Public Enemies). He developed a reputation as a live-wire, someone who refused to play the Hollywood game, and his career took a hit for it. He got cast as the villain in the first Blade movie, still his most famous role, and quickly became typecast as a go-to heavy. He never quite disappeared from Hollywood, but for a while, it sure felt like it. It took a director of Coppola’s vision to see a quality in Dorff that few others did: likability. His Johnny Marco lives life in the fastlane (albeit very slowly), drifting through the halls of Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont, from one party to the next, in search of something that isn’t there. It’s only when his 11-year-old daughter Cleo shows up for an extended stay that Marco finds purpose, and we can’t help but root for him. We spoke to a chain-smoking, laid-back Dorff about living life as Johnny Marco, being misunderstood, and missing Elle Fanning.

Tell me how you got involved in Somewhere. I got a call from my agent. They called and said she was doing a movie, and I was like, What movie? They said its about a movie star living at the Chateau with an 11 year old, and that’s all they knew. I got the script a week later in an envelope. It said American zoetrope, it was black. It had one little word on it, called Somewhere. It was thin. And I was like, fuck—I read it and I was like holy shit, this is something unique, this is poetic, it jumped out on the page even in the way she writes. So I immediately went to Paris and we had this week.

With her? Yeah, she was observing me, talking to me, we went for coffee. We had a great dinner at this Argentinian restaurant. It felt like a vacation, so even if I hadn’t gotten the part, I would have gotten to see my friends again, and I think it was more for Sofia to see me—she hadn’t seen me in a few years—she’d been living in Paris, had a baby, and hadn’t made a film in a while. She really wanted to go in subtle and intimate with this one, and I think she just wanted to make sure that I hadn’t changed, that I hadn’t become some psychopath. We had dinner with Zoe Cassavetes, our mutual friend, we hung out, and at the end of that week she called me on the anniversary of my mom’s passing and offered me the part.

When you came on set, were you confident? Yeah, I checked into that hotel as Johnny Marco and was there for seven-and-a half weeks, so I was living the part.

Was your name Johnny Marco on everything? Everywhere. I had stationary scratched out with Johnny Marco . If I wrote letters to people, it was as Johnny Marco. I wanted to create this iconic movie star.

What stage do you see Johnny Marco at, in terms of his career? I think he’s a guy that like, 3 years before, had done some good parts with smaller roles, probably the 4th or 5th part, opposite Pacino. But I think he got really famous for this Berlin Agenda franchise. So where we open, he’s about to start promoting The Berlin Agenda. She doesn’t explain this, because she doesn’t really explain a lot, but I think he had that kind of crazy fame where you don’t have the movie to back it up, but you’re on the cover of everything. I remember back when Matthew McConaughey became famous, for I think it was A Time to Kill, he was on everything. I was like, Who is this Brad Pitt-y kind of guy, he must have a good PR guy – it was kind of like that. Because I felt that it would be more daunting for an artist or an actor coming in, and I think Johnny inside is more soulful, and you know, he’s broken inside. I think he would have rather been making Somewhere, he would have rather been working with Sofia. I think he’s worried he’s going to be a sellout, and in a way he is.

So if his fame is still new, why does he seem so bored of it all? I think he’s had two years of just running and running—how many cigarettes can you smoke, how many beers can you drink, how many chicks can you bang—and he’s detached from what really matters, from the people that really know him, which is his ex and his little girl. I saw him as kind of a rockstar dad. He probably shows up to the birthday party with some incredible present, takes Cleo for lunch, and then drops her off at home. But now he’s spent two or three weeks with her, and the fog is starting to lift, and by the end, it’s his beginning, I think he’s going to be a great dad. If he returns to acting, I think his work would probably get better, too.

How hard was it to shoot such poignant scenes with almost no dialogue? The most naked I’ve ever been was in this movie. There’s no tricks. There’s nothing happening behind me. There’s no big set piece or banks to rob. This is the real deal. I found it incredibly challenging.

Is it uncomfortable at all? Totally. There’s an intimacy because she’s hand-picked this crew and it’s almost like a student film.

What was it like shooting at the Chateau, in front of all the guests? That was cool. We kind of had a covert little mini-crew. We’d venture outside, if we needed the pool we’d go to the pool and shoot that scene. They gave us free reign at the hotel. I remember one day, I was shooting in the lobby and all of these directors came in—I think it was the piano scene where I play that Bach piece—and Alfonso Cuaron and all these directors were checking in, and they were so envious of how Sofia was getting away with shooting a big movie 35mm, and yet it looked like we were doing some little EPK interview or something. And I thought that people were very envious, like how is she making a movie at the chateau? They couldn’t believe it, and I thought that was pretty cool.

Was there a sudden onslaught of fame for you when you were younger? I never had that kind of crazy fame. I guess I was plastered in magazines when I was 19 or 20. You’d walk by and I was literally on 4 or 5 covers. And I was 20 and rebelling against my childhood, because my upbringing was sweet and nurturing and I wanted to kind of–I think when we’re young we just go for it. I was doing some good films, I was starting that movie SFW, I was into Nirvana, I was just in an angst-y period of my life, and I gave some hardcore interviews and was pretty outspoken.

Do you think you got a reputation? Yeah, maybe it added to the whole, Why I couldn’t stop playing villains and stuff. It made everybody think I was really a mean guy, and I’m not, really. I’ve grown up a lot since then. I think I’m doing better in my interviews now, and it’s nice to play a good guy again, somebody with vulnerability who is flawed, who has a soul.

He’s incredibly likeable, too. Yeah, you have to like him or you’d shit on him

How did you try to accomplish that? That was Sofia, because I thought I was on pills—I’d come at it from reality, but that was wrong in retrospect. Like, instead of taking all that time with the room service tray, shouldn’t I just throw the fucking thing and piss on the lawn? She was like, No, I want him to be sweet, and she was right, because that’s what makes you like him. He’s nice to the room service guy or the valet parker. He still mustered up enough applause for those twins to give them what they deserve. Everything that I was stuck on, in the end, I was wrong and my director was right, and that’s how it’s supposed to be. Actors don’t know everything.

A lot of people are using words like ‘comeback’ to describe this performance. Do you see it that way? I said it from the beginning, since they hired me. I told Sofia, You made me cool. And she was like, No, you were always cool. Rather than comeback, she says it’s a rediscovery. That’s a nice way of saying it. Sofia made me cool. She could have had anybody—an older guy like George Clooney—any of my competition, but she chose me and that meant a lot to me, and says a lot about her and her brains.

Was there a period before this role where you were struggling in your career? A few years ago, as I was losing my mom, all these great things were happening—it wasn’t like I couldn’t get a job. I was working with Oliver Stone in World Trade Center, I was working Michael Mann for Public Enemies, so I was doing big movies, I was just maybe not the number one guy, but the number 4 guy, or something. And I worked real hard on this movie called Felon that I produced, that got really amazing reviews but got a bullshit release

The one with Val Kilmer, right? Yeah, it became really massive on DVD. Kids all around the world love it. That’s how I got the whole UFC crowd to be my biggest fans. I made a conscious choice not to go for money, and just work for directors again, and then this one just landed in my lap.

How is your career changing post-Somewhere? Do you sense some more attention from powers that be? Yeah, I think so. I think there’s more scripts coming in, but the movies still aren’t—you finish Somehwere and the scripts I got were like, Predators. And I’m not going do that after what I just did. I did finally cave and I did this movie, Immortals, and who knows how it will be. There are some really great moments and I’m sure it’s going to look great because Tarsem Singh, the director, is pretty talented.

Are you getting a ton of accolades from your peers? Yeah, a lot of actors really identify with the movie. There were a lot of actors at the premiere last night. My friend Michael Shannon loved the movie. Meg Ryan was there, but I didn’t get to see her.

And Marc Jacobs? Yeah, Marc Jacobs, Lou Reed. Who else? James Franco was there. A lot of actors.

Was it a cool feeling watching this movie with your peers? I didn’t watch it last night because I’ve seen it, like, ten times. I would recommend repeat viewing, not just for the box office.

Does some of the fatherly love you had for Elle onscreen trickle into real life? Totally. After the movie I was missing her a lot. I wanted to call her and I was thinking, Is her dad going to think it’s weird, this 36-year-old actor is calling my daughter. But I was like, fuck it, I’m going to call her. So I called, and I was like, Did you hear we’re going to Venice? And she was off playing volleyball and doing ballet and with her friends, so I didn’t want to like cramp her style, but I do love her. She was my leading lady, and I miss her when I’m not with her.

Elle Fanning vs. Hailee Steinfeld: Who Gave the Best Tween Performance of 2010?

Although 12-year-old Elle Fanning and 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld were shut out of yesterday’s Golden Globe nominations, everyone agrees these two young actors gave the performances of their short lifetimes this year – Fanning in Sofia Coppola’s ode to ennui, Somewhere, and Steinfeld in the Coen Brothers’ steel-jawed Western, True Grit. But who was better? After the jump, we pit these two bright-eyed ingenues in a bloodless death match to find out.

Our Opinion: Full disclosure: We’ve only seen Somewhere, and in it, Fanning does her disconcertingly mature big sister Dakota proud by picking up the torch she left behind after playing a drugged out rocker in The Runaways. Considering Fanning plays an 11 year old in Coppola’s latest, that she seems more grown-up than her father (Stephen Dorff) is remarkable, and sort of the point. As for Steinfeld, we included her in our 2011 New Regime, and will take our own word for it that she shines in True Grit. Winner: Elle, by default.

Difficulty: Based on their experience, this should be Steinfeld’s category. Here’s a girl who’s only major acting credit before True Grit was a guest spot on the TV series Sons of Tucson. And now here she is, holding her own in a film stacked with Oscar winners including Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, and her directors. She told us that following some understandable first-day jitters, she quickly came into her own. Fanning, on the other hand, has the kind of filmography a seasoned actor would envy, having appeared in everything from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button to an episode of Criminal Minds. She also comes from an acting family (Dakota steal scenes and hearts in movies like I Am Sam). In Somewhere, Fanning plays a little girl trying to reconnect with her father, while in True Grit, Steinfeld’s character is trying to avenge her father’s death. One is heady, the other is heavy. Winner: We give this to Steinfeld, if only for not getting intimidated by one serious boys club.

What the critics are saying: New York‘s David Edelstein calls Steinfeld’s performance “exceedingly accomplished,” while IndieWire‘s Anne Thompson writes that “Watching her earn the respect and admiration of the men who want to dismiss her is one of the great pleasures of this movie.” As for Fanning, Time‘s Richard Corliss writes that she “gives Cleo a fresh, winning goodness,” while Frank Bruni, in his lengthy profile of Fanning for The New York Times Magazine, writes that her “work in Somewhere, in fact, is distinguished by its restraint.” Winner: Neither actror is exactly earning raves, rather positive reviews highlighting their discipline. That means a tie.

Awards: Like we mentioned earlier, both actrors were snubbed by the Golden Globes, and rather surprisingly, so were their films. But Somewhere has already won one of the top film prizes of the year, the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion. But yesterday, the Toronto Film Critics made the surprise choice of awarding Hailee Steinfeld with a Best Supporting Actress award for her role in True Grit. She’s also been nominated by the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the Houston Film Critics Society, the St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association, the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association, and the Phoenix Film Critics Society Award, all for for Best Supporting Actress. Elle Fanning, however, has yet to receive a major award or nomination for her role. Winner: Steinfeld, in a landslide.

Final Result: Hailee wins it 2-1, which means she gets to choose between being the next Jodie Foster or the next Meryl Streep, while Elle has to settle for being the next, er, Dakota Fanning. Thanks for playing!

Well-Played: Elle Fanning at the Premiere of ‘Somewhere’

While it may be wrong to envy a 12-year-old, we have to be a little jealous that actress Elle Fanning (Dakota’s little sister) arrived to the Los Angeles premiere of Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere wearing a perfect little black dress and embellished shoes from the fall 2010 Valentino Couture collection. Considering it is couture, it still somehow manages to be age-appropriate and completely adorable. If you care to marvel over more Valentino gems, do so here. And watch Elle in a sneak peek of Somewhere, after the jump.

Holiday Movie Reviews: ‘Blue Valentine,’ ‘Rabbit Hole,’ ‘Somewhere’

Blue Valentine Who better to play beautifully damned characters than Ryan Gosling, master of the tearjerker, and Michelle Williams, tragic “Page Six” heroine? Blue Valentine tells the all-too-real story of Dean and Cindy, whose marriage buckles under the grind of everyday life. The film depicts the final 24 hours of their relationship, interspersed with flashbacks of happier times. Through extreme close-ups, we’re brought into the couple’s private moments and spaces (including an abortion clinic and a grimy, Neutral Milk-style hotel), and forced to endure their agony along with them. The movie ends with the realization that neither Dean nor Cindy is to blame for the demise of their love. Sure, Dean has a drinking problem, a bad temper, and he smothers his wife, but he is also selfless and noble, and he deserves much more gratitude than Cindy gives him. Their adorable preschool-age daughter, Frankie, makes the story that much more heartbreaking, and the Grizzly Bear soundtrack brings the film’s Kleenex count close to The Notebook territory. —Dana Drori

Rabbit Hole The 2006 theatrical production of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Rabbit Hole, earned acclaim for bypassing the histrionic pitfalls of lesser dramas. Still, it extracted a river of tears from audiences. That this rare achievement is duplicated in John Cameron Mitchell’s heartrending screen adaptation is a testament to the narrative’s unusual ability to tap into the vast range of emotions that often accompany traumatizing experiences. Howie Corbett and his wife, Becca (Aaron Eckhart and Nicole Kidman), are an affluent couple with an idyllic suburban life until the sudden death of their young son shatters their world. Audiences are introduced to the shell-shocked couple eight months after the accident, as they struggle with grief and the healing process (which, in Becca’s case, doesn’t include the wisdom of “god freaks”). The sincere, witty, and disarmingly honest screenplay jolts viewers from the brink of despair into fits of laughter, all the while earning their sympathy. —Nadeska Alexis

Love and Other Drugs Although the title suggests something far more insidious, Edward Zwick’s romantic comedy, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway (whose on-screen relationship fares much better than it did in Brokeback Mountain), is about Viagra. Pfizer employee Jamie Randall (Gyllenhaal), the pharmaceutical equivalent of a slick used-car salesman, spends his days hawking Zoloft at local clinics, which is where he meets Maggie Murdock (yep, Hathaway), a reclusive, shut-off beauty with Parkinson’s. They enter into a no-strings-attached relationship, which, predictably, becomes more fibrous than a bowl of oatmeal. When Pfizer patents a magical pill that increases sexual drive and stamina, blood rushes back into Jamie’s, er, career, and he’s forced to reconcile his professional success with his sick girlfriend. A frank portrayal of love and disease, the film is also heavy on nudity. Said Hathaway at a private screening in New York, “Put me in a room with Jake and my bra hits the eject button.” The same won’t be said about Love and Other Drugs when it’s released on DVD. —Nick Haramis

Biutiful Was Alejandro González Iñárritu’s decision to forgo the narrative crosscutting that defined his first three films (Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel) a case of ceding to critics, or a byproduct of parting ways with writer and collaborator Guillermo Arriaga? Probably a bit of both. Despite the shift, the acclaimed Mexican director’s Biutiful somehow feels tired. This time, Iñárritu’s bleak worldview is seen through the eyes of Uxbal (brilliantly played by Javier Bardem), a brooding father, husband, and hustler-with-a-heart, who must tie up loose ends—both familial and professional—after he’s diagnosed with cancer. Although the film is at times heavy-handed, Bardem’s noble navigation of a Barcelona in moral (and architectural) decay saves Biutiful from crumbling under its own weight. Woody Allen’s Barcelona this is not. —Dan Barna

Somewhere Twenty-five years into his acting career, Stephen Dorff delivers a breakthrough performance in Somewhere, Sofia Coppola’s third consecutive ode to ennui. As the actor Johnny Marco, a sort of Vincent Chase without the entourage, Dorff is alienated and adrift, in life and in the hallways of the Chateau Marmont. When he falls asleep in front of two pole-dancing bimbos, it conveys more about his mood than dialogue ever could. He’s also incredibly likeable, especially when Cleo, his precocious 11-year-old daughter (Elle Fanning, also a revelation), unexpectedly shows up and reinvigorates his spirit. Coppola lets her shots linger—life in the fast lane rarely looks so slow—and actions speak louder than words. Never has a plate of eggs Benedict conveyed such gravitas. —Ben Barna

New Sofia Coppola Movie to Feature More Sad Rich People

In the wake of the overblown and underwhelming Marie Antoinette, Sofia Coppola had a baby, moved to Paris, and effectively receded from view. Other than a commercial for Dior, her filmmaking dropped to nil. Enter her forthcoming release, Somewhere. Starring Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning, the story concerns a hard-living Hollywood actor obliged to re-examine his life after a surprise visit from his 11-year-old daughter. Does this sound like a kind of (asexual) Lost in Translation redux? The older-Hollywood-type-meets-challenging-younger-girl scenario does feel rather familiar. Exactly how familiar remains to be seen, but in any case, the one-sheet for the film has surfaced. Check it out after the jump.

My prima facie opinion is that this will be yet another installment of what I call “the rich people’s blues,” a category into which all Coppola’s films, save perhaps The Virgin Suicides, snugly fit.

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