a) Prelude to the dream
Francis Ford Coppola was in Istanbul, it was during a time when he had been regularly reading Edgar Allen Poe's novels before he went to sleep since he was so interested in his life and the heartbreak also in his life and hos mind was filled with this. . So one night he was in Istanbul (and he wanted to make three little student films that were all original and personal, and would be extremely cheap. Because he felt that would give him the sense of being a student again; to have no money, where he couldn't have sophisticated collaborators, where he was pretty much on his own. So' he was looking in Istanbul to perhaps do a film there, having done one in Romania and also Argentina just before and he went out with a lawyer of the the Istanbul Commission who was going to tell him the details of the subsidies and her sister came. Francis thus found himself with two pretty Turkish women and they said "Have you ever had Raki?" Raki is the alcoholic beverage of Turkey and he says, "Oh, I think I've had something like that." But he drank the delicious stuff with the two girls and got himself very drunk. When he came home to his little hotel, the window was open and he could hear all the people outside. He fell asleep and had an intense dream.
b) The dream begins
The dream began in a frightening forest of a rural setting such as in Calistoga or Greer Lake. It was late in the afternoon and he met a girl who he saw walking with him, she came out of the trees. She was young she had dark hair, sort of crooked teeth, and she wore braces, she was a little mischievous and she would say to him “You’re looking at my teeth! You’re looking at my teeth!”.
Francis replied "no no, I'm not looking at your teeth",
She says, "well",
He added "I'm looking at your braces, they're so big. "
She says, "I hate them"
She continued to talk to him and began to tease him.
"Well are you afraid of me?" she asks now as this young girl began to tell him that she's a vampire
His response was "No, you are not very big, I'm very big so I'm not afraid of you".
The dream had real continuity like a real situation.
They approached a hotel in a town and when he entered , they said that he was stepping on the 'grave". The whole floor was the grave, filled with murdered children. They were stepping out of it and playing in the moonlight as if it were sunshine.
And he kept thinking "My God, this like a little movie. This is a gift; I'm being given a scary story in this dream."
In the dream he ran into Edgar Allen Poe and said to him “Oh, Edgar, I love your work, you are such an inspiration to me. Guide me". And Francis was so happy about this because he thought that he would help him write the screenplay.
Coppola thought that the dream seemed like “The Divine Comedy” or something similar. As he began following him, he was awoken by the usual 5am call to prayer coming through his open window which happens early in the morning, and the experience nearly knocked him out of bed, and he thought, "Oh no, I've got to sleep, I've got to get the ending. I don't know what happens in the story" He got up to close the window, went back to bed and the put the pillows back so he could go to sleep but of course he couldn't fall asleep and thus never able to get back to that dream, but at least he was able to dictate the fragment of it into his iPhone so that he would not forget and indeed he was able to remember it well afterwards.
c) The dream becomes the film
That was the germ of the story that became Twixt and he made the forest into a place near his home. He realised that it was a gothic romance setting and so in fact he'd be able to do it all around his home based rather than have to go to a distant country. As well as that of Edgar Allen Poe's, Coppola compared the imagery to that of Nathaniel Hawthorne's.
When he began to work on the script, he needed a context to put his dream in. For a while he thought it would start with a man in Istanbul, and it was then that he began to be more practical, because he lived in a place surrounded by rural areas, beautiful forests and incredible trees, and so he already had a setting, about thirty forty minutes away from his home, there very strange towns that attracts people who want to be left alone. Every kind of person was there. So the town in the movie was somewhere real, even the place where a man was making bird houses
But Francis didn't know the end of the story because he woke up too soon and it was through the act of working with the script and realising that the character Hugo Baltimore played by Val Kilmer , who was on a decline selling so few books and his chosen career wasn't supporting him any more, and he meets Edgar Allen poe in a dream, he wants Edgar to finish the end of the dream.
Poe tells him, "you are the end, you are the end. You know, if you go there, f you see what that means you can never come back"
But Hugo says "No no, I want the end."
Francis realised that the resolution was to do exposing his own feelings, and he was like the character in the movie going up the mountain saying "this is very dangerous, do I really"
And Poe replies "Are you sure you want to continue because when you reveal these things, you know, you will be like me, it's for eternity, I weep over the loss of my young wife. "
So Francis realised that the movie was something a little bit more serious because as an author, he realised what he must agree to which is to put your money where your mouth is. If you want to be a writer and if you constantly embrace the truth, then you start with yourself
Another point to note was that the actress he used as the girl from the dream was Elle Fanning although she was slightly younger and looked younger than the girl in his dream who slightly sexy
- "I had this dream in Istanbul, and it was particularly vivid," he told the Toronto press, as reported by Bloomberg News's Rick Warner. "It was like the story in the movie. Then the call to prayer woke me up and I was very frustrated, because I wanted to see what the dream had in store for me." (www.time.com/ Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011)
- The idea for Francis Ford Coppola's latest film project came to him in
his sleep. When he woke up, he recorded all that he could remember of it
into his iPhone:
"This is a dream that I just had. I'm in Istanbul. It begins in some kind of rural setting—it could have been Calistoga or Greer Lake or any of those places, and I was in this town. It was late in the afternoon and I met a girl. She was young, she had dark hair, sort of crooked teeth, and she wore braces. She was a little mischievous...." (http://www.interviewmagazine.com/_)
- RK: “Twixt” is an original script of yours. Where did the story come from?
FFC: I try to read at night when I go to bed different things from whatever I’m working on. It’s like a little vacation. I decided to read all the Edgar Allan Poe. I was so intrigued with his life and the heartbreak of his life. I was pregnant with all that. One night I was in Istanbul looking for a possible city — I’ve made a film in Romania, I made a film in Argentina — I’m always looking for a place where the dollar conversion is good and where there’s a cultural tradition where you can find actors. So we were in Constantinople and I was meeting with a Turkish lawyer whose sister shows up at dinner and they start giving me this beverage called raki, which is very alcoholic, and I went home to my hotel, fell asleep and had this vivid dream. It was all this Edgar Allan Poe imagery and the scary forest and this little girl with braces saying, “You’re looking at my teeth! You’re looking at my teeth!” and children coming out of a grave in the floor, and then Edgar Allan Poe shows up and I was saying, “This is a gift. I’m being given a story” and I said to Poe, “Guide me.” It was like “The Divine Comedy” or something. And then all of a sudden out of the window I hear the call to prayer at 5 in the morning. I said “Oh no, I have to sleep. I have to get the ending” and so I dictated it into this little iPhone to remember it.(herocomplex.latimes.com)
- Twixt Now and Sunrise actually "grew out of a dream I had last year - more of a nightmare," Coppola said in a statement. "[It] seemed to have the imagery of Hawthorne or Poe." While the director didn't reveal any plot details, he explained that "as I was having it I realized perhaps it was a gift, as I could make it as a story, perhaps a scary film… so I recorded what I remembered right there and then on my phone. I realized that it was a gothic romance setting, so in fact I'd be able to do it all around my home base, rather than have to got to a distant country." The memories Coppola recorded as he was waking up soon became a short story ("something I always do as a first step") and then a screenplay.(http://www.hollywood.com/)
- Twixt is the third in a trilogy of self-financed and self produced films that Coppola made after abandoning his long nurtured Megalopolis project in the aftermath of 9/11 and vowing no longer to take on studio based assignments. While Youth Without Youth (2007) and Tetro (2009) were shot in Romania and Argentina respectively, Coppola dropped the idea of filming in Istanbul when he realised that the dollar was not so strong in Turkey after all. But after a night of indulging in the local Raki, the director had a dream which supplied the idea for a film which could be closer to home - in the Napa valley in Northern California. In his dream, Coppola encountered an adolescent girl with strange teeth, who could be considered a vampire, visited a deserted hotel whose floor consisted of tombstones from which he saw children escaping to dance in the night and then engaged in conversations with none other than Edgar Allen Poe. For his script, Coppola fed the same elements into the dreams of washed up horror writer Hugo Baltimore (Val Kilmer). On the road flogging his latest novel. Baltimore arrives in a small town dominated by a tower with several clock faces, each giving a different time. In this eerie, somewhat Lynchian environment, the writer becomes embroiled in the local legend of a fanatical pastor who believed that the goths camped outside the town are in fact dangerous vampires. ( from a review by David Thompson, Sight And Sound, August 2013, p102)
- It turns out the plot of TWIXT came to Coppola in a dream while on a trip to Istanbul. He recalls, “I was in Istanbul in Turkey, trying to see if that might be a city I could make a film in. While out for dinner with a young lawyer who was advising me on work conditions there, her sister arrived and I had a great time involving the consumption of ‘raki,’ the traditional liquor. That night, under its influence, I had a particularly vivid dream — I was in a frightening forest and saw a young girl walking with me; we approached a hotel and when I entered they said I was stepping on the ‘grave’. The whole floor was the grave, filled with murdered children. They were stepping out of it and playing in the moonlight as if it were sunshine. In the dream I kept thinking: ‘This is a gift; I’m being given a scary story in this dream.’ In the dream I ran into Edgar Allen Poe and asked him to guide me. As I began following him I was awoken by the call to prayer coming out of my window, nearly knocking me out of bed and I thought, ‘Oh no, I’ve got to sleep, I’ve got to get the ending.’ Of course I never was able to get back to that dream, but at least I was able to dictate the fragment of it into a recorder. That was the germ of the story that became TWIXT.” (http://therumpus.net/2012/08/francis-ford-coppolas-twixt/)
- While the film may not always resemble the characteristics associated with the genre, since Coppola infuses the script with quit a few humorous moments, he composes the imagery to keep focus on the more subtle aspects of horror. Specifically, this happens in the dream sequences were Hal explores the realm of the mystery the atmosphere feels melancholy. The narrative is motivated as much by Coppola’s invention, an idea manufactured by a dream he had in Istanbul, as it is by authors like Poe and Hawthorne. There are two worlds that the story journeys, one of the peculiar town and the other a dream environment in Hal’s subconscious. This isn’t always a successful balance, as the story is introduced nicely, but turns wayward as the mystery unravels. There are numerous tones touched upon in the narrative, a medley of ideas that untangle with varying degrees of success throughout the course of the film. In one instance, the inclusion of a literary icon during a dream moves the story in an interesting and unexpected direction, but it’s countered by a return to a meandering reality. It’s in the dream environment where the film feels most accomplished and personal, reflecting Coppola’s own life experience. (http://dailydead.com)
especially with this film, there were so many dream sequences. Did you
try to get into a different state of mind to tackle those?
FFC: Well, as you probably have heard, this little story came to me in a dream. I was in Istanbul and I wanted to make three little student films that were all original, that would be original material, that would be personal, and that would be extremely cheap. Because I felt that would give me the sense of being a student again: to have no money, where I couldn’t have sophisticated collaborators, where I was pretty much on my own.So, I was looking in Istanbul to maybe do a film there, having done one in Argentina just before it, and I went out with the lawyer of the Istanbul Commission who was going to tell me the details of subsidies, and her sister came. So, I'm with these two pretty Turkish women and they said, “Have you ever had Raki? " And Raki is the alcoholic beverage of Turkey, and I say, “Oh, I think I’ve had something like that.” But anyway, I drank this delicious stuff with these two girls, and I got myself totally drunk.So, when I came home to my little hotel, the window was open and I could hear all the people outside. I fell asleep and had this intense dream, which as I was having it I said, “My God, this like a little movie. I am being given this gift.” I was caught up in the dream, and all of a sudden there was the call to prayer outside the window, which happens early in the morning. And I said “No, no!” And I closed the window. I said, “I’ve got to get to the end. I don’t know what happens in the story!"Of course, I couldn’t fall asleep so I just dictated into my iPhone what the dream had been so I wouldn’t forget it. And then I realized that I could make it at home. I didn’t have to be away for a year in Istanbul, so I just made it in the forest, near where I live.(http://movies.yahoo.com. Wed, Jul 24, 2013)
- Francis Ford Coppola (05:37) In this occasion I wasn't planning to do anything like this but I had a dream in Istanbul of all places, and the dream was maybe kindled by drinking lots of Raki, and I went to bed, er, you know drunk, which is not something I do very often (6:00) and I had the most vivid dream, it was a great experience, it was wonderful, but it was very haunting gothic kind of dream, a young girl came out of the trees, and had very crooked teeth and big braces you know, she said to me "you're looking at my teeth, " I said "no no, I'm not looking at your teeth", she says, "well", I said "I'm looking at your braces, they're so big. "
She says, "I hate them"
and this girl talked to me and started to tease me and say "well are you afraid of me", and I, she began to express that she was a vampire, this young girl, and I said, no no, she's not very big, I'm very big, so I'm not afraid of you and er we came to (7:00) a place in the forest, and in this dream which had real continuity, like a real situation, there was a grave inside the house and at a certain moment all these children came out of the grave and they started to play in the moonlight as though it were the sunlight and I'm thinking wow, this is, this I'm really being given a gift, this is a story I don't have to work, I don't have to write, I just have to watch it and in my dream I thought that and er and then at some moment appeared Edgar Alan Poe in my dream, and I said," Oh Edgar Allen Poe, I love… you are… you are such an inspiration to me" and I was very happy because I thought maybe he'll help me write the rest of the screenplay and around that time (8:00) in the dream there was the call to prayer because I was in Istanbul , this was about five in the morning and I said Oh no , and I went and I closed the window 'cause it was open and I went to the bed, I put the pillows back to go back to sleep because I wanted to have the end of this so I could make this, this could be a movie, I could go home, and I live in a place with a forest, I could make it at home and of course I couldn't go to sleep and so instead nowadays your phone can do everything and so I recorded the dream exactly as it happened that's why I remember it and that became the basis, and in the movie, you saw the sequence with this little girl in the forest walking and the strange (9:00) hotel with the children coming out of their grave and the appearance of Edgar Allen Poe, it's all part of the dream, it's very much as it was
The girl in my dream was maybe not so young as er, Elle, she was a little sexy, you know and er. in the, in the, in the movie, you know, Elle, when she shot the film she was like eleven years old, she's only thirteen now(www.franceinter.fr/)
- Francis Ford Coppola: Clearly when I began to work, I needed a context to put this dream in. For a while I thought it would start with a man in Istanbul, and it was then that I began to be more (12:00) practical, I realised, you know, I live in a place surrounded by rural areas, beautiful forests and incredible trees, and so I already had a setting, and you know, about thirty forty minutes away, there are towns, very strange, you know, attractive, a people who want to be left alone. Every kind of person was….this is the town in the movie and that's all real, even the place that you saw where the guy is making bird houses, now that's a real place, that's not a something you should build…. so, so I had this possible setting, not just because it was there and this was going to be a film that I would finance myself, so it would sort of cost very little money. (www.franceinter.fr/)
- Francis Ford Coppola: (13:52) But somehow I really didn't know very well the end of the story because I woke up too (14:00) soon, and in the in the trying through script and the work with it afterwards, trying to come up with the end, the movie became more strange to me, because it started to, the idea became clear in working with this writer who like a cross between myself, you know, was on a decline, selling so few books, it was not supporting him any more and he met Edgar Allen Poe in the dream, and he was so happy because he thought Poe would help him finish the end and Poe said "you are the end, you are the end.You know, if you go there, if you see what that means, you can never come back"
And he says "No no, I want the end" and then you know I wanted it to be shown that he needed money you know because his wife was… he needed (15:00) money and erm. So little by little, the movie took its own life and ultimately I became a sender of, of what the resolution was going to be and then of course when I realised what I had to do which was really expose my own feelings, I was like the guy in the movie walking up the mountain saying, this is very dangerous, do I really… And Poe is saying, Are you sure you want to continue because when you reveal these things, you know, you will be like me, it's for eternity, I weep over the loss of my young wife. So I realise that the movie was in fact a, (16:00) not just a joke to do with my my granddaughter and it's with some vampire kids and er, the old, using the old gothic traditions that I did when I was beginning with Roger Corman at age 22 but it really going to but it was really going to be about me
And , and I said that's fine. that's what an author must do, the author must agree to, as we say in English, put your money where your mouth is. If you want to be a writer, if you constantly embrace the truth, then start with yourself (www.franceinter.fr/)
- Mr. Coppola wrote that the new project “grew out of dream I had last year – more of a nightmare. He continued:
But as I was having it I realized perhaps it was a gift, as I could make it as a story, perhaps a scary film, I thought even as I was dreaming. But then some loud noise outside woke me up, and I wanted to go back to the dream and get an ending. But I couldn’t fall back asleep so I recorded what I remembered right there and then on my phone. I realized that it was a gothic romance setting, so in fact I’d be able to do it all around my home base, rather than have to go to a distant country. (http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/)