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Roman Coppola's Oscar Nomination Makes Him Part of a Family Tradition

The "Moonrise Kingdom" co-writer joins acclaimed family members in the elite Academy ranks.

By Scott Huver
|  Friday, Feb 22, 2013  |  Updated 4:57 PM EDT
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Sofia Coppola and her brother Roman Coppola

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What’s in a name? When it’s Coppola, apparently it’s a penchant for Oscar nominations.

Roman Coppola is the latest member of the famous clan of filmmakers to join the ranks of Academy Award nominated family members - together the family has 23 nominations and nine wins thus far, including those for Roman’s father Francis Ford Coppola, sister Sofia Coppola, grandfather Carmine Coppola, aunt Talia Shire and cousin Nicolas Cage.

With his Best Original Screenplay nomination for “Moonrise Kingdom” alongside collaborator Wes Anderson, Coppola reflects on adding to the clan’s unique distinction at the Oscars, and what it meant to have the quirky underdog film become a beloved hit.

Did it ever factor into your brain at all when you were working on the film that this could be where you ended up?

You know, it's totally a surprise. You're just doing the work. You're thinking about the project, and sometimes you daydream – like, ‘Oh wow, will people really like this?’ And you always kind of feel that way, but this one surprised me, certainly. It really seemed to have been embraced and now with the awards stuff and the Academy Award nomination. I would never daydreamed about that. So it's a wonderful break.

Anderson's films always touch people in a certain way, but there was something unique and extra-special about this one. Do you have a sense of what it was that clicked?

It’s so mysterious! I would just be speculating. I think that the subject matter having to do with young love, and there are these two very sympathetic characters, a big debt is owed to that – the performers who portray those characters, the kids. I think there is something so moving and touching about seeing young people discovering love, and a lot of people relate to that or have some experience, and it's filled with their emotion, so perhaps that has something to do with it.

With the recent notices you have gotten, you havenow become part of the family lore. Did that mean something special to be able to join the rest of the family in those ranks?

It did. I was with my parents when I heard the news, and they were really delighted. There's a nice cheer that went around. We were in a car together going to the airport. Yeah, it was moving. Our family is very close. We have a wonderful tradition of being connected with the arts, and film in particular.

Did you have to make a conscious decision to go into the business, because everybody had their own particular territory carved out?

It just sort of flowed. I didn't really have a master plan or didn't think about it too much. I think, if anything, I was a little bit precious. When it comes to feature filmmaking I'd been a little bit precious in that. If I'm going to spend that time to do a film, I want it to really be a reflection of who I am and what I am interested in and be a personal work. When it comes to commercials and other videos, in short form, I'm much freer. I think, perhaps if I wasn't from such a noted film family or whatever, maybe I would have done some horror movie.

What’s your best Charlie Sheen story from directing him on “A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III?”

It’s funny because people say ‘What was he like?’ ‘Was he crazy?’ ‘It must have been insane.’ But Charlie is super-together, talented, witty, funny, charming. When we were making the movie he was never late, always knew his lines. So I have no good stories to tell, because he was contrary to what you all expect.

Put on your producer’s hat and tell me about ‘The Bling Ring,’ which your sister Sofia directed.

'Bling Ring' is very exciting. It's a remarkable story – a true story, or based on true events, as you know. Sofia, it’s in her style – which is totally from her perspective – and the pacing and the music and just the tone, it is very much her kind of movie, which we all love. I think people are going to really be interested and intrigued.

Are you going to take a break? Do you know what you want to do next?

I don't have a precise plan, but I'm excited to have just a little mini break, and then I’ll jump right into something. I don't know what that is quite yet.

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