Can you imagine having such a career in Hollywood that you make an appearance in Star Wars but forget about it? Sofia Coppola, esteemed director and daughter of the legendary Francis Ford Coppola, once managed to get a scene in a galaxy far, far away, but she needed reminding it even happened.
Her moment in Star Wars occurs during the prequels, in a minor scene from The Phantom Menace. So if you’re already thinking of poring over the Star Wars movies in order, you don’t need to go far, but even then it might be tricky for even the most obsessive fan. You can find her Star Wars cameo among Queen Amidala’s handmaidens – blink and you’ll miss it, but there nonetheless.
Despite telling Rolling Stone she’d forgotten all about it, she says joining the Star Wars cast was something she’d wanted to do since the Original Trilogy, since her father knew George Lucas. “When I heard [Lucas] was doing a Star Wars movie since I was so little the first time, I said, ‘I want to come hang out,'” Coppola recalls. “So they said I could be in it, and that was the best way to be on set.”
She was writing what we consider to be one of her best movies at the time, The Virgin Suicides, and I can’t say I see much influence there from a long, long time ago. That said, a deep cut from Lucas did help inspire another of her films.
“He made a short film about race cars going around a track (1:42.08, from 1966), and that actually inspired the opening scene in Somewhere,” she states. “George is very sincere about what he does, and I love it.” It’s refreshing to hear someone so respected on the film festival circuit speak so positively about Lucas and Star Wars.
These days, cynicism towards the franchise is relatively common, not least from yours truly. New Star Wars movies and Star Wars series have become regular, and if I’m being honest, they’re diluting the spectacle somewhat. I’ve loved and hated certain aspects over the last decade, and have my own issues with how Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau are handling the Jedi and Sith on a fundamental level.
But what Lucas and his team accomplished on A New Hope was nothing short of miraculous back in the ’70s. Likewise, the way he remained steadfast on what Star Wars should be, to a fault, is a brand of creative bullheadedness we can all aspire to. Sofia has consistently erred on the side of smaller drama movies and romance movies throughout her career, from Lost in Translation to The Beguiled, and no doubt there were times when Lucas and her dad helped remind it’s about seeing out a vision to the bitter end.
Sofia’s new movie, Priscilla, comes out on October 27. Check out our guides on the Skeleton Crew release date and The Acolyte release date for what’s coming for Star Wars next. For more cinematic greats and wild universes, we have a guide on Avatar 3 from James Cameron, a sequel with a cast so large there’ll definitely be another future Sofia Coppola or two in the mix, so keep your eyes peeled.