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Eleanor Coppola waited a long time to make ‘Paris Can Wait’

Director and writer Eleanor Coppola (right) at a special screening of her new film, "Paris Can Wait," with her star, Diane Lane, and husband and famed filmmaker, Francis Ford Coppola. | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Eleanor Coppola was amused to be sitting in an Asian-influenced Chicago restaurant — NoMi — to talk about a film that showcases delicious French cuisine. “And I’m married to an Italian-American who knows an awful lot about Italian food and wines,” quipped Coppola, referring to Francis Ford Coppola.

Her Oscar-winning husband, she said, was jealous her promotional tour was taking her to Chicago. “After all, Chicago is such a great gourmet mecca today. Unfortunately, this trip is so quick, I won’t be able to really sample much of the great restaurants you have here.”

“Paris Can Wait” (opening Friday) is her first fictional feature film, and Coppola explained the screenplay she wrote was somewhat autobiographical — “but I added a lot of things that never happened to me.”

In the movie, Diane Lane’s Anne character takes a car trip from the South of France to Paris — accompanied by Arnaud Viard’s character, a longtime partner of Anne’s often inattentive Hollywood producer husband Michael (Alec Baldwin). It becomes very clear that Viard’s Jacques is hopeful a fling will develop between him and Anne.

As for any input from her husband, famous for such iconic films as “The Godfather” movies and “Apocalypse Now,” Coppola “originally wasn’t very encouraging, but mainly because it’s so hard to get funding and he didn’t want me to be disappointed if it never happened.”

As it was, it took six years for the well-respected documentarian to secure the money to make “Paris Can Wait,” since the storyline “has no sex, no violence, no robots, no real romance, no car chases, no cancer, no guns, no knives and nobody dies! But we did get it done,” she said with a satisfied smile — also delighted she was able to be aided by women who served as the film’s cinematographer, assistant director, costume designer, production designer “and even the gaffer.”