The news that Sofia Coppola is prepping a new film, Somewhere, that will prominently feature Hollywood’s famed Chateau Marmont hotel is interesting in that the delightful filmmaker already famously infused the luxurious Park Hyatt Hotel in Tokyo with lots of life in 2003’s Oscar-winning movie Lost in Translation. More than just being the main setting for the strange Bill Murray-Scarlett Johansson love story, the Park Hyatt became a sad, lonely character itself. Oh, aren’t you just envisioning those tragic souls there at the New York Bar inside the Park Hyatt right now? Yeah, me too.
But can Coppola work her magic again with the Chateau? Not that she has to create the same sad, sterile feel for the Chateau as she did for the Park Hyatt, but with all the fanfare about her getting permission to actually shoot the film at the tabloid star-loving locale, she’s gotta be able to deliver on some serious Chateau charm. Again, she’ll undoubtedly be charged with making a location a character in this movie. And because the Chateau is so well-known in Hollywood circles, Coppola has got to get its soul just perfectly…or risk knowing Hollywood types ripping it to shreds. Despite its tragic past (John Belushi died there) and sometimes just-plain-silly present (an ambulance picked up Josh Hartnett there for his recent gas pains), it has a special place in the lore of movie making and L.A.
If I had to make a guess, I’d say that Coppola should have no problem. Despite the stakes in this situation, she’s an ace moviemaker. Again, just look at Lost in Translation. And The Virgin Suicides. And Maire Antoinette. But what do you think? Will she be able to give the Chateau all the heart and soul it so deserves?