Why Sofia Coppola and Her Dad Finally Joined Instagram

One thing Sofia Coppola could do without in her work? Answering emails: “I don’t know how people do it; it’s like a full-time job.”
One thing Sofia Coppola could do without in her work? Answering emails: “I don’t know how people do it; it’s like a full-time job.”


The filmmaker talks about her morning muesli, playing pickleball with Jacob Elordi and her new film, ‘Priscilla.’

It’s well known that Sofia Coppola is part of a filmmaking dynasty. Director Francis Ford Coppola is her father; actors Jason Schwartzman and Nicolas Cage are her cousins; and her aunt Talia Shire starred in both the Godfather trilogy and the Rocky series. Since Coppola directed her first movie, the 1999 adaptation of Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Virgin Suicides, she has carved out her own space in cinema. Her atmospheric films, often set in storied locations from Versailles to the Chateau Marmont, explore themes like girlhood, growing up and loneliness.

Still, she’s very close with her father; the two confer about everything from Instagram posting to their shared profession.

“He always talked about the importance of personal filmmaking, so I think about wanting to make something that only I could make," says Coppola, 52. “I love movies by other directors where I recognize them in the movie."

Earlier this fall, she released Sofia Coppola Archive, an almost-500-page book filled with photos, letters, note-filled script pages and other memorabilia from her eight movies, including Marie Antoinette, The Bling Ring and Lost in Translation. Its first sentence is a departure from Coppola’s usual veneer of glamour: “After each project, stuff ended up in boxes."

Here, she discusses her muse, Kirsten Dunst; her most-loved clothing items; and her newest movie, Priscilla, about the life of Priscilla Presley, which comes out this month.

What time do you get up on Mondays, and what’s the first thing you do after waking up?I wake up at 7 on Monday, and I go downstairs and make Yorkshire Gold tea and let my dog out, and then I make breakfast for my younger daughter, who leaves at 8. I don’t like to wake up early, but having kids, I have to. In my life before kids, I could start the day at 10 or 11. Then my day starts. On Monday, I’ll take the golden retriever to the dog park when I have time, and then I come home and sit at my desk.

What does that look like? How do you stay organized for the week ahead? I sit at my desk with more tea, and I have to look at a paper planner for the week. I had the Smythson Soho diary forever. For 20 years, every year I’d pick out a different color. Then my life got too busy to fit in there. Now I’m using the Moleskine Pro Weekly. I have to see the week visually on paper. I write out my week and take notes. I tried to design my own [planner], because I still haven’t found the perfect one. That’s still an aspiration.

How do you like your own breakfast? I drink a bunch of tea and eat this muesli called Dorset [Cereals] that I got into when I was shooting my movie in Toronto. They don’t have it here, so I stocked up on it.

I feel like nobody really wants to know what somebody eats for breakfast. We were giving my dad a hard time because he has an Instagram where it’s like, “Ask me anything," and he was talking about what he ate for breakfast. And I was like, “No one needs to know what you eat for breakfast."

The two of you both got on Instagram recently. I know, and what is the world coming to? We’re both making independent movies so we have to put our work out. I think of it more like making a book layout or a magazine; it’s just more about the visuals. I’m not very social on it. I don’t think I’m using it properly.

What do you do for exercise?I don’t like to exercise. What I do when I have time is go to Dutch Flower Line [in New York City] and get flowers. It closes at 11 or 12, so you have to be up early.

Do you have any favorite memories from making Priscilla?We were shooting part of it at a stage in Toronto and going from the costume department to the set department; everything being in one place, old-studio style, was always fun. The art department was making Graceland, with the shag carpet all around. But my highlight was, we built a pickleball court on our shooting stage, and everyone started to play at lunch and we had a big tournament at the end.

Is Jacob Elordi [who plays Elvis in the film] good at pickleball?He can play pickleball. Our budget was always strained, low budget, and I was like, “I wonder if I could raffle off a pickleball game with Jacob to raise money to get one more day of shooting." We didn’t, but he was a good sport. He indulged me, even though he’s not an enthusiast. I think he associates it with, like, Malibu moms.

What were some gems you found while compiling images for the book?I was really thrilled to find all the photos that Corinne Day took on Virgin Suicides. I wanted to do a whole book of just those photos. And then I had boxes of hundreds of Tokyo one-hour photo booths, all my pictures from Lost in Translation. I hadn’t really looked at that stuff in years.

What makes Kirsten Dunst such a good muse? Kirsten and I instantly clicked. We’re just on the same wavelength; what we think is funny and stupid are the same. I found a partner in her, so when I was working on Marie Antoinette, I was like, “Kirsten could play her," and that’s what inspired me to write the script, because I could picture her and her tone and how she’d do it. I think of her as sort of my alter ego on the films.

You’re collaborating with the cashmere line Barrie on a travel wardrobe collection. What’s the best outfit to wear to the airport? I met Augustin [Dol-Maillot], who designs it, and I was like, “Can you make this? Can you make a jumpsuit?" I love making custom stuff. Everything mixes and matches, so you can just bring five things and be set—you can wear them on the plane or go to a meeting and look put together.

Where’s your favorite place to see a movie in New York City?I love the Paris Theater.

What’s a part of your work that feels like a waste of your time? Email. Every time I take on a new project, I’m like, “Is it worth having more emails?" I wish there was a way to have less email. I don’t know how people do it; it’s like a full-time job.

What are you reading right now?I’m reading the Mike Nichols biography by Mark Harris [Mike Nichols: A Life].

A lot of your work revolves around girlhood and learning who you are. How do you think about those things in your own life?  As a teenager, I had a lot of opinions and a clear idea of who I was, but then it evolves as you kind of find it separate from your family. In my 20s, I was a little lost. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I feel like it’s always a process, not one moment. Because I grew up with a lot of guys, I feel like I really clung to that girliness and femininity as something worthwhile.

How do you think about personal style? When I’m working, I wear a uniform of men’s shirts and men’s clothes. Everything I have is navy blue. A men’s navy blue sweater; men’s sweaters are really nice. One of the [highlights] of living in Paris is going to Charvet and having my shirts made. These are the things I do to relax, I pick out fabrics to make shirts I love. Clothes for me are fun escapism.

What’s a piece of advice you’ve gotten that’s been important to you? Anjelica Huston told me when I was 14 that I would grow into my nose, and that was really helpful. My 13-year-old daughter thinks her nose is too big, and I was like, “Oh, my God, I remember; you’re going to grow into your nose." That helped me get through my awkward phase.

5 Monday Must-Haves

Yorkshire Gold tea“I have to have three cups to start the day, and I look forward to that."

Ginori Granduca mug with lid“I have this tea in this beautiful mug that my girlfriends gave me for my birthday."

Moleskine Pro Weekly planner“I like that it has the months in the front and space to make notes for the week. I’m always making lists. I have to probably calm down about it."

Augustinus Bader Rich Cream“[Mixed] with a few drops of Chico Shigeta’s Golden Drops. They’re like essential oils. She’s someone I met while I was living in Paris. Now she’s in Japan. They’re these little drops you can put in any cream; it feels really nice and will wake you up in the morning."

Buvette“I like to come here for a meeting."

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