Roman Coppola talks A GLIMPSE INSIDE THE MIND OF CHARLES SWAN III and the casting of Charlie Sheen

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When you’re Roman Coppola, the son of famed director Francis Ford Coppola, then you bet your Apocalypse Now that there’s a certain amount of pressure on you. The young filmmaker has collaborated scripting duties with Wes Anderson on on several of his films, and he has already written and directed his first movie, the small budget indie film CQ, but not too many people got to see that.

His sophomore effort though, A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, is a different kettle of alcohol playboys as it’s easily his biggest movie to date. So to make his life easier, he’s gone and found the perfect casting for his partying, boozing, womanizing lead: Charlie Sheen.

Entertainment Weekly has a interview with the young writer-director where he gave the first few glimpses at the film, which follows wealthy Hollywood graphic designer Charles Swan III (Sheen) whose life has hit a downward spiral after he got dumped by the love of his life. Soon it’s up to his best friends and sister (Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Patricia Arquette) to pull him out of his doldrums by partying it up over a weekend. And along the way things get kind of surreal.

Coppola touched on the rather obvious fact that despite their differences in profession, Charles Swan and Charlie Sheen certainly seem to bear quite a few striking similarities. Was that what drew him to “wild man” Sheen for this role?

 “Charlie is so perfect for the role, but he’s not perfect because of the public profile we’ve seen in the news. He’s incredibly talented as an actor, he has tons of charisma, he’s very witty. He’s very funny and charming. You can use your charm sometimes as a problem solver — and my character, that’s what he’s been doing. He’s been sliding through on life, using his charm and wit and charisma to get past some problems. But the problems are still there, and that’s the story of the movie.

To relate it to Charlie as a person, he has all those qualities. But to say “wild man,” it doesn’t quite … it’s not what I would choose, those words. There are many similarities, but not what you’d expect. He’s not someone who’s out of control. I even hate to bring all that up because it only reinforces it.

…I can say there is something that really fits, but it’s due to his great acting abilities. On the surface you could make a lot of parallels, but when you see it you’ll appreciate this character is one we invented together, and he as a performer drew from whatever talents and inclinations he has.”

 

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When asked about some of the more weirder aspects seen in some of the pics (Yes, that is cowboy with the Star of David emblazoned on his chest), Coppola explained how, just like the title implies, some of the film takes place inside Charles’ mind:

“It’s not strictly realistic. In the film, because some of the sequences take place in the imagination of the main character, it goes to fantastical circumstances and settings. There’s a western sequence, there’s an underground spy-agency sequence. There are some playful touches that, for me, are cued off this main character, whose professional life is creating imagery, stylized imagery like album cover art.”

While it’s clear that Schwartzman – who plays Charles’ stand-up comedian friend, Kirby – will be playing quite a big role in the western (or should that be “middle-eastern”) sequence, I have a feeling that Murray – who portrays Charles’ good friend and business manager, Saul – might be drawing on his The Man Who Knew Too Little experience for the spy stuff, which should be a blast.

Besides for funnymen Murray and Schwartzman, the film also boasts some great up and coming funny ladies, in the form of Katherine Winnick, who plays Ivana the love of Charles’ life, Aubrey Plaza and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

[Ivana’s] played by Katheryn Winnick [a recurring charactor on Bones, who had small roles in Love & Other Drugs and Killers]. She’s done some TV performances and Cold Souls [a 2009 film with Paul Giamatti]. I just came across her randomly, watching television, and I tracked her down and looked her up. There was just something about her. Casting is mysterious. Sometimes something just infects you a little bit, and you fall in love with them. That’s how I felt about her. And I liked that she was less known, and therefore you kind of get to meet her as a character rather than a personality playing a role.

Aubrey Plaza is the producer of his design studio. She’s trying to keep him on the ball in terms of keeping him focused and applying his energy to getting his work done. His business is foundering a bit. And Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays the best friend of his girlfriend who just broke up with him. She is not so supportive of their relationship.”

Coppola is hoping to debut A Glimpse Into the Mind of Charles Swan III early next year. You can read about that and the rest of the interview over here.

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Last Updated: September 5, 2012

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions – but very little sleep – I’ve been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

  • This actually sounds quite interesting, but that might also be because I used to have a major star-crush on Patricia Arquette before she became a psychic soccer mom. You know, the Lost Highway days.

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