Coppola cuts to the quick

Ask Francis Ford Coppola what “The Godfather” is about and you won’t get a long-winded answer.

You won’t get pages and pages of treatment. Or a one-page outline. Or even a snappy logline. You’ll get a single key word as a thematic touchstone.

For “The Godfather” that word is succession.

“The Conversation”? Privacy.

“Apocalypse Now”? Morality.

Such clean and simple encapsulations help ultra-focus his large-scale pictures and avoid derailment (unless it’s part of the story) in production.

A single keyword aligns actors and crew to a singular common and easy-to-understand purpose. For Coppola, it helps the movie make itself. Such singular impetus becomes its own flywheel.

Can you sum up the project you’re currently working on in just one word?

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