James Franco Seduces Emma Roberts In First Trailer For Gia Coppola’s Venice-Bound ‘Palo Alto’

Written by on August 29, 2013 

Consider it a banner year for the Coppola family; after Roman Coppola kicked things off with A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III (his first new film in over a decade), Sofia Coppola followed with one of the best films of the year, The Bling Ring. Then Francis Ford Coppola provided one of the stranger, more overlooked works of the year with his long-delayed Twixt. Now it is time for his granddaughter, Gia Coppola, to deliver her directorial debut Palo Alto, and ahead of the Venice premiere, we’ve got the first trailer.

Based on short stories from James Franco (which can be read here), he also stars in the tale of a group teenagers (one being Emma Roberts) living out their life in the suburbs. It comes with the sheen one may expect from a Coppola film and we’re certainly looking forward to see if this family member has the same caliber voice. Also starring Nat Wolff and Val Kilmer, one can see the trailer below thanks to Vulture, as well as the director’s statement.

I first met James Franco shortly after graduating from college. I had shown him some of my still photography and we got to talking about his book, Palo Alto Stories. It had been a long time since I had read or seen anything about teenagers that I liked or felt was realistic. When I read Palo Alto Stories, the different teenage voices felt honest and true, conveying the aimlessness and vulnerability of being young: the funny conversations, pent-up crushes, the dumb mistakes. I looked to movies, photographs, and music for inspiration. From The Outsiders to The Virgin Suicides, The Last Picture Show, Diner, and American Graffiti; these movies are lifelike and not perfectly plotted. I always knew that I also wanted the camera to remain still. I wanted the composition and color of each shot to look like the photographs of my college mentor, Stephen Shore, who shoots everyday scenes. Once we started Palo Alto and I got to really know the kids – Jack Kilmer, Emma Roberts, Nat Wolff and Zoe Levin – they would tell me what they thought was cool or not cool. Ultimately, the film took its course and what I had originally envisioned transformed into something of its own. Making a movie is a lot of problem solving and being a first time director is a lot like being a teenager: your skin breaks out, you’re awkward, insecure, and hot-headed. I have been— and continue to be—lucky that James Franco trusted me with his book. He has been incredibly supportive, allowing me the freedom to interpret and adapt his stories while helping me face the challenges of filmmaking. Thank you, James.

Palo Alto premieres at Venice on September 1st.


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