While promoting her latest film, Priscilla, Sofia Coppola has been candid about some of the blockbuster projects she passed on, notably the final installment of the Twilight saga and a live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid.
The Twilight series, based on the novels by Stephenie Meyer, became a global phenomenon soon after the first film was released in 2008. Centered around the love story between a mortal girl, Bella Swan, and a vampire, Edward Cullen, the series delved into a world of mythical creatures, including werewolves. The saga, which was known for its romantic tension and supernatural elements, culminated in a final book that was split into two films, Breaking Dawn Part 1 and Part 2.
Coppola, known for her unique vision in films like Lost in Translation and The Virgin Suicides, was in talks to direct the final installment. However, she opted out after just one meeting with the studio.
“We had one meeting, and it never went anywhere,” Coppola told Rolling Stone. “I thought the whole imprinting-werewolf thing was weird. The baby. Too weird! But part of the earlier ‘Twilight’ could be done in an interesting way. I thought it’d be fun to do a teen-vampire romance, but the last one gets really far out.”
In the end, Bill Condon took up the reins for Breaking Dawn, which was released in 2011 and 2012.
The story of The Little Mermaid has been told in various forms, but it gained worldwide fame largely due to Disney’s 1989 animated version. In 2014, Coppola was attached to direct a live-action adaptation of the story, distinct from the Disney version, for Universal Pictures and Working Title.
However, the project hit a snag when a studio executive questioned its broader appeal.
“Yes, there was [a breaking point]. I was in a boardroom and some development guy said, ‘What’s gonna get the 35-year-old man in the audience?’ And I just didn’t know what to say,” Coppola revealed. “I just was not in my element. I feel like I was naive, and then I felt a lot like the character in the story, trying to do something out of my element, and it was a funny parallel of the story for me.”