Five Favorite Films

Five Favorite Films with Sofia Coppola

Plus, the Oscar-winning writer-director chats about her latest film, Somewhere.

by | December 27, 2010 | Comments

Sofia Coppola

“I never expected to win a prize for anything for my films,” says writer-director Sofia Coppola, who won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2004 for Lost in Translation and whose latest, Somewhere, recently took home the Best Picture prize at the Venice Film Festival. When RT caught up with her recently, the quiet, modestly spoken Coppola seemed humbled by the attention, preferring to talk about vintage camera lenses and sound-mixing Ferrari engines rather than the Awards-season circus.

Indeed, the image that opens Somewhere — Stephen Dorff’s Hollywood drifter doing laps in his Ferrari in the desert — was the impetus for the film. “I imagine these guys with sports car collections, they have to bring it to some track outside the city to have to be able to drive them,” says Coppola, “so I imagined him in the middle of nowhere, kind of going around in circles, to introduce the state he’s in. I started with him and the Ferrari, and then I thought about the Chateau Marmont and the stories of people I knew, or things I’ve heard, around there, and sort of put them all together.”

“I pictured Stephen early on, just as kind of this lost, bad boy LA actor,” the director continues. “I just felt like he was the right guy for the part; I’d met him and I knew him over the years and I always thought he was a good actor.” It’s a subtle, affecting performance from Dorff, whose character — a bored actor adrift in the purgatory of his own fame — comprises a lot of wordless, long takes. “Stephen’s so sweet that I felt like that would help make you care about watching the character,” says Coppola. “He’s so flawed that you could easily not be interested, but I felt that he’s got so much heart that he could connect people to it.”

Curiously, Coppola shot the film using old Zeiss lenses once used by her father, Francis. It’s perhaps ironic that Coppola senior is now once of digital’s biggest advocates, and at one point had even wondered why his daughter would want to film on archaic stock. “I think he appreciates it now,” she laughs, “but I remember he and George Lucas a while back saying, ‘Oh, you have to start shooting on digital — why are you using film?'”

Well, that explains the first of her five favorite films…

Rumble Fish (1983, 70% Tomatometer)

Rumble Fish

I love that it’s an art film about teenagers. I just love the way that it’s shot — I love those old lenses, those Zeiss lenses; they have a softer feel. [Coppola and her DP, Harris Savvides, used the lenses from Rumble Fish to shoot Somewhere.] Roman [Coppola, her brother] and I are just sentimental about film.

Breathless (1960, 96% Tomatometer)


The Godard version. [On the similarities between the moving car jump cuts in Somewhere:] I guess I was going through that whole New Wave thing… coming from a documentary background.

Sixteen Candles (1984,
87% Tomatometer)

Sixteen Candles

That was one of my favorite films when I was growing up, and I’ll still watch it every time it’s on.

Lolita (1962,
97% Tomatometer)


I love Kubrick. I love the way he put that film together, the way it’s filmed. Just some of the shots he did there, like the reverse shot in the car window with the monster.

The Last Picture Show (1971, 100% Tomatometer)

The Last Picture Show

It’s just a beautiful film.

Somewhere is in theaters this week. Click here to read our chat with Stephen Dorff , who also talks his five favorite films.

Tag Cloud

USA Network Apple Paramount Sundance YouTube Premium police drama Comics on TV screenings The Witch thriller Pixar zombies batman Drama Disney+ Disney Plus GIFs green book 2017 Disney Plus travel Britbox christmas movies Emmys politics Brie Larson A&E Sneak Peek Box Office Binge Guide Star Wars Ovation Hallmark psychological thriller Opinion TruTV Western Best and Worst disaster Amazon game of thrones WarnerMedia elevated horror period drama DGA Elton John MCU Countdown Holiday Fantasy cats finale VH1 Musicals Holidays Tarantino Teen Pop Emmy Nominations 2016 Awards Trivia streaming Thanksgiving supernatural Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Nat Geo El Rey 2020 APB Trailer TNT History Turner Classic Movies IFC Films 2015 Adult Swim space VICE Animation crime dragons sports sitcom jamie lee curtis festivals PBS teaser casting YouTube Shondaland Certified Fresh TCA 2017 YA Music 45 richard e. Grant NYCC GoT Mudbound historical drama Action composers CBS DirecTV SDCC Ellie Kemper Lucasfilm DC Comics Reality Set visit crime thriller doctor who Calendar Stephen King Lifetime Paramount Network robots The Purge American Society of Cinematographers Spike CW Seed FX Food Network Nickelodeon dceu Winners Amazon Prime Video true crime Country werewolf TIFF cinemax IFC spanish language CNN TBS adaptation 71st Emmy Awards SXSW Disney streaming service Television Academy spy thriller Vudu Rocky Anna Paquin Lionsgate GLAAD spain Super Bowl psycho Tumblr theme song Acorn TV vampires Writers Guild of America Marvel Television ITV Oscars Rocketman The CW Disney television Film Festival RT21 24 frames dramedy Freeform Valentine's Day Reality Competition Crackle slashers rotten movies we love natural history WGN Fox News justice league A24 CBS All Access toy story nature Dark Horse Comics Disney Channel Watching Series Podcast Cartoon Network MTV Hallmark Christmas movies Turner cars 2018 TCM First Reviews LGBT spinoff adventure Apple TV+ Red Carpet social media Mary poppins dc Pet Sematary MSNBC diversity NBC TCA talk show cancelled TV series science fiction Film anime ratings cancelled TV shows game show Mary Tyler Moore President war Video Games Grammys Pride Month Creative Arts Emmys breaking bad Nominations anthology hist Character Guide Mystery Musical Women's History Month romance Photos latino canceled spider-man Pirates cooking comic comics movies Extras cartoon BBC Spectrum Originals foreign zero dark thirty The Arrangement Shudder comiccon binge award winner miniseries FXX medical drama strong female leads indie Biopics canceled TV shows Sony Pictures Awards Tour First Look RT History based on movie what to watch Chilling Adventures of Sabrina tv talk blaxploitation Superheroe Epix crossover Song of Ice and Fire Marvel Studios transformers ABC Netflix Christmas movies serial killer renewed TV shows Peacock DC streaming service Fall TV Schedule Hulu Superheroes children's TV Starz zombie 2019 quibi animated Esquire series ghosts Masterpiece Mindy Kaling book boxoffice Quiz See It Skip It USA biography Columbia Pictures facebook Sundance Now kids Infographic Winter TV AMC cults Arrowverse CMT Syfy The Walking Dead Marvel mutant Martial Arts witnail cancelled television E3 harry potter E! New York Comic Con TV renewals Walt Disney Pictures Election Sci-Fi Amazon Prime cancelled DC Universe Cannes video BBC America discovery Rock Year in Review Tomatazos Family singing competition Premiere Dates sequel free movies independent golden globes LGBTQ south america Horror BET Interview YouTube Red crime drama Heroines FOX Mary Poppins Returns Logo Comic Book Lifetime Christmas movies technology PaleyFest ESPN Netflix X-Men Polls and Games Ghostbusters ABC Family stand-up comedy docudrama Kids & Family Universal unscripted joker aliens Warner Bros. TLC Rom-Com hispanic 007 21st Century Fox Marathons National Geographic Cosplay halloween revenge Comedy Bravo political drama Christmas cops Trophy Talk Toys San Diego Comic-Con Spring TV Crunchyroll Comedy Central Captain marvel Showtime Classic Film HBO Max Chernobyl mockumentary Star Trek Summer Apple TV Plus 20th Century Fox SundanceTV blockbuster TV Land versus TV HBO romantic comedy OWN Black Mirror