Francis Ford Coppola insists he’s not “touchy-feely”.

Francis Ford Coppola insists he’s not ‘touchy-feely’

Francis Ford Coppola insists he’s not ‘touchy-feely’

The ‘Apocalypse Now’ director, 85, made the statement when hitting back at claims that emerged in May he pulled women to sit on his lap and tried to kiss a string of topless or scantily clad female extras while filming a nightclub scene for his epic new sci-fi film ‘Megalopolis’.

Breaking his silence for the first time about the allegations, which were published by The Guardian, Francis told The New York Times when asked about them: “I’m not touchy-feely. I’m too shy.”

He added about how his upbringing means he could never be a predator: “My mother told me that if you make an advance toward a woman, it means you disrespect her, and the girls I had crushes on, I certainly didn’t disrespect them.”

The NYT added Francis did say “there was a photo of one of the ‘girls’ he kissed on the cheek (on the set of ‘Megalopolis’) that had been taken by her father” – adding: “I knew her when she was nine.”

Francis has been defended against the claims he acted inappropriately on the set of his latest film by its executive co-producer Darren Demetre.

He told The Guardian in the same report that carried allegations of Francis’ apparent misbehaviour on set: “I was never aware of any complaints of harassment or ill behaviour during the course of the project.

“I have known and worked with Francis and his family for over 35 years.

“As one of the first assistant directors and an executive producer on his new epic, ‘Megalopolis’, I helped oversee and advise the production and ran the second unit.

“Francis successfully produced and directed an enormous independent film, making all the difficult decisions to ensure it was delivered on time and on budget, while remaining true to his creative vision.

“There were two days when we shot a celebratory Studio 54-esque club scene where Francis walked around the set to establish the spirit of the scene by giving kind hugs and kisses on the cheek to the cast and background players.

“It was his way to help inspire and establish the club atmosphere, which was so important to the film.

“I was never aware of any complaints of harassment or ill behaviour during the course of the project.”

The Guardian’s report also contained allegations Francis smoked marijuana on set, was “unpleasant”, had no plan for filming which apparently left his team tearing out their hair – and demonstrated “old school” behaviour throughout the shoot.

Francis’ ‘Megalopolis’ premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival on 17 May.

The director first began writing the project in 1983, and sold a portion of his wine empire in 2021 to self-fund the $120 million project.

Its trailer shows Adam Driver, 40, in its lead role, playing an idealistic architect trying to rebuild a city while up against Giancarlo Esposito, 66, as a pragmatic mayor.

The cast also includes Nathalie Emmanuel, Aubrey Plaza, Shia LaBeouf, Jon Voight, Jason Schwartzman, Laurence Fishburne, Kathryn Hunter, Grace VanderWaal, Chloe Fineman, James Remar, D B Sweeney and Dustin Hoffman.

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