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That time Francis Ford Coppola wrote John Lennon about ‘Apocalypse Now’

The writer and director Cameron Crowe recently tweeted an impressive piece of pop culture history. It was a photograph of the correspondence between Francis Coppola and John Lennon, in regard of the former-Beatle hanging out with the famed director in the Philippines and maybe writing/contributing some music for Coppola’s movie Apocalypse Now.

The pair had obviously met at some point and an idea had been suggested. What exactly this idea was, and how far or how seriously it was taken, well, we just don’t know. What seems apparent is that Coppola was feeling a tad lonely working and living 24/7 on location and the “rarified air” of the Philippines was having its own effect.

The letter starts off like a typical fan letter but Coppola probably lost Lennon at the line where he says he is living inside a volcano.

March 24, 1977

Mr. John Lennon
Lennon Music
1307 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10019

Dear John:

We’ve never met but, of course, I’ve always enjoyed your work.

I am presently in the Philippines making “APOCALYPSE NOW”. I’ve been here eight months, expect to be here another several months. I live inside a volcano, which is a jungle paradise, where there are beautiful mineral springs; and thought of ever you were in the Far East or if ever you would enjoy spending a little time talking about things in general and some distant future projects that I have in mind, please, I would love to cook dinner for you and just talk, listen to music and talk about movies.

If coming to the Far East is difficult, then someday in the future, either in Los Angeles, San Francisco or New York, I would like to meet you.


Francis Coppola

Coppola feeling the pressure during ‘Apocalypse Now.’

Lennon replied in his scribbled handwriting:

Dear Frank,

Having given a lot more thought to this idea, I realize that due to my work schedule I really don’t have the time for such a big new project.

I love the book but it would take to much energy etc.

Best wishes to you, it was nice meeting you


John Lennon

So, it never happened—whatever it was. But it would certainly have been interesting to find out what could have happened had Lennon dropped in on Coppola in his volcano for dinner and talked about working on Apocalypse Now or some other movie together.

H/T Cameron Crowe.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Francis Ford Coppola’s original cast list for ‘The Godfather’
Francis Ford Coppola and Brian De Palma have a conversion about ‘The Conversation,’ 1974
‘Porklips Now’: Spoof of Coppola’s ‘Apocalypse Now’ sends up suburban barbecue culture, 1980

Posted by Paul Gallagher
11:43 am



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