Sofia Coppola may have an Oscar and a number of widely acclaimed films to her credit ― but she’s endured her share of creative disappointments along the way, too.
In an interview with The New Yorker published Monday, the “Lost in Translation” and “Priscilla” director shared her frustration with not being able to move forward with her planned adaptation of Edith Wharton’s “The Custom of the Country.”
“Apple just pulled out. They pulled our funding,” she said. “It’s a real drag. I thought they had endless resources.”
First published in 1913, “The Custom of the Country” follows Undine Spragg, a beautiful and ambitious Midwestern woman on a mission to charm her way into the social circles of New York City’s elite. Considered by many to be one of Wharton’s finest works, the book offers a satirical look at material wealth and gender roles in Gilded Age society.
In 2020, it was announced that Coppola was working with Apple TV+ to adapt “The Custom of the Country” as a five-episode series, with Florence Pugh set to star as Undine. It’s easy to see how the series would feel at home in the current landscape of prestige TV, with period dramas like “Bridgerton” and eat-the-rich satires like “The White Lotus” becoming critical and commercial hits.
About a year later, however, Coppola says Apple TV+ pulled the plug because it didn’t find the protagonist likable enough.
Director Sofia Coppola (left) and actor Florence Pugh were set to collaborate on an Apple TV+ adaptation of “The Custom of the Country.”
“They didn’t get the character of Undine,” she told The New Yorker. “She’s so ‘unlikable.’ But so is Tony Soprano! It was like a relationship that you know you probably should’ve gotten out of a while ago.”
As for the series’ production budget, she said it would equal out to about “five ‘Marie Antoinettes,’” referring to her 2006 film starring Kirsten Dunst. That project was reportedly made for $40 million.
HuffPost reached out to Apple TV+ representatives for comment on Coppola’s claims, but did not immediately hear back.
The director’s comments, however, echo sentiments she previously expressed in an interview with The New York Times last fall.
“The idea of an unlikable woman wasn’t their thing,” she said at the time. “But that’s what I’m saying about who’s in charge.”
Later, she added: “The people in charge of giving money are usually straight men, still. There’s always people in lower levels who are like myself, but then the bosses have a certain sensibility ... If it’s so hard for me to get financing as an established person, I worry about younger women starting out. It’s surprising that it’s still a struggle.”