The film Hearts of Darkness (1993) dwells upon the hardships Francis Ford Coppola had to endure when filming his Apocalypse Now (1979). The director was very optimistic when he started working on the movie, and some even stated that it could become the first film to win the Nobel prize. However, during the production process, Coppola changed his mind and considered quitting. Luckily, he completed his work that became an iconic cinematographic masterpiece. The documentary unveils major problems the director had and shed light on issues that can arise when making a big-budget movie.
One of the issues Coppola had to deal with was the budget as the filmmakers were significantly over the funds they had planned to spend. In part, the budget issues were due to severe weather conditions and the destruction of some sequences’ set. The filmmakers had to reconstruct the set. Additionally, Coppola had to hire guards to make sure that the expensive equipment was safe day and night. The health issue of some actors also affected the budget of the film. It is noteworthy that the initial budget was impressive (up to 14 million), but producers were ready to pay due to Coppola’s previous successful works. However, the rumors concerning the obstacles the director faced made investors less willing to pay, and Coppola had to invest his own money to finish the film.
At that, the biggest problems were associated with the cast or even several actors. Martin Sheen’s health issues were a significant shock for everyone and an obstacle to finishing the film. However, the biggest problem was Marlon Brando who revealed little interest and motivation to work hard or rather work. Coppola had to spend hours discussing Brando’s character with the actor while the crew was there ready to shoot. Clearly, such discussions negatively affected the film’s budget and had an adverse impact on the rest of the teams’ morale. It is possible to note that the cast and the entire crew experienced feelings and psychological constraints revealed in the movie. Brando caused many problems as even the screenplay was a problem since it was inappropriate. Coppola had to rewrite the ending of the film as Brando did not fit
As has been mentioned above, weather conditions were harsh, which led to additional investments. The weather destroyed the set and equipment. Moreover, the cast and the crew also had health issues due to the specific climate. The weather was often inappropriate for the planned shootings as well. Nevertheless, Coppola managed to overcome the issues, inspire the crew, and make a great success out of his war epic.