Apocalypse Now

Francis Ford Coppola's search for the best ending

August 9, 2012: 1:04 PM ET

The director discusses his most recent film and how it represents a creatively destructive phase in his impressive career.

FORTUNE -- Francis Ford Coppola doesn't care for what he calls "the tyranny of genres." He's the man behind the Godfather series and Apocalypse Now. And yet, even as someone whose work has helped define American cinema, he says he still has trouble fitting in.

The director's most recent project is a mishmash of horror, comedy, drama, and fantasy called TWIXT. It's tough to categorize, and Coppola prefers films that way. He's been answering questions about his process for his entire life.

He'll be answering more about TWIXT, which opens today at the Kabuki Theater in San Francisco, and will run there for a week. Coppola will hang around after two showings for a Q&A with the audience tomorrow.

In the midst of the hubbub, he took some time to speak with Fortune about directing six-year-olds at drama camp and drunk dreaming in Istanbul about Edgar Allen Poe. An edited transcript of the conversation is below.

Fortune: You've been in the film business for years. And you've also jumped into wine as well. What have you learned about running a business?

Francis Ford Coppola: There's nothing better than doing things that stem from your own heart and enthusiasm. I own two wine companies now, and somehow I've managed to convince the public that I'm not a celebrity who just licensed my name, that I really do make the wine and that I stand behind it. I never started a business that was successful, but I followed a lot of trains of enthusiasm that became successful businesses.

Is it more difficult to stay true to that enthusiasm when you're making movies for larger studios?

Well, it's a business and people are only trying to make a profit in their investment. So if people are going to put their hard-earned money into a movie, they want it to be the kind of movie that people are going to come to in droves. More

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