Talia Shire strides calmly through the organized mayhem of a movie shoot, to a quiet spot in a corner of this Surrey mansion.
"Walk with me," she says before she answers the first question about Dim Sum Funeral's fictional extended family.
Shire, a two-time Oscar nominee for Rocky and Godfather II, knows something about extended families, as one of the sprawling Coppola clan that includes her director brother Francis and his daughter Sofia, Shire's own actor son Jason Schwartzman and Nicolas Cage, nephew to both Francis and Talia.
Shire can't help herself -- she's proud of all of them and soon she's going on like a Christmas e-mail from your mother-hen aunt.
"Nobody's spoiled, and nobody's on drugs," she says. "I call it a circus family, we'll be at each other's throats -- are you kidding? -- but you're going to trust your brother not to drop you when you're up there."
The creative genes go back to her father, composer Carmine Coppola, and oldest brother August (Cage's father) a writer and university professor. "He was our mentor, Francis' and mine, he gave us our reading lists when we were young."
The cousins, aunts and uncles work separately and sometimes together -- that was Francis' son Roman with a co-writing credit on the recent Darjeeling Limited, which starred Jason Schwartzman. Jason also starred for cousin Sofia in Marie Antoinette.
Their individual successes would seem to stifle talk about any of them just making it on the name, but Shire says she was conflicted when Jason's big break came in Wes Anderson's offbeat comedy Rushmore.
"I prepared him, I'm the only teacher he's had," she says. "Then I stepped back. I thought 'He's so good I don't want him getting this job, please God don't let him get this job,' and he got the job. Wes Anderson later told me they saw 1,800 boys and they were going to close everything down because it was a very bizarre role."
Mother and son finally acted together in 2004's I ? Huckabees, Jason was the star and director David O. Russell talked Shire into a small role. When she showed up on set Jason had vacated his big trailer for her.
"I hadn't been acting in years and I told Jason, 'Look, today I'm an actor and you're an actor, please go back to your trailer and I'll go to mine,'" she says. "He had only wanted to make me comfortable, but we have to be 10 times more professional on set, because there's always an insinuation, or could be."
She remembers the talk when Francis cast her as The Godfather's Connie Corleone. "Unfortunately The Godfather was unpleasant with that. But Francis didn't want me, I had to go for an audition."
Her own movie franchise came with her role as Rocky's Adrian opposite Sylvester Stallone. "Sylvester and I would joke, he said, 'If you didn't get Rocky . . .'
"I really wanted the kids to have their own moment where they got there on their own," she says. "Now the cousins can work together and really have a terrific community."Source
It will star US actor Vincent Gallo (The Brown Bunny), the Spaniard Maribel Verdu (Pan's Labyrinth) and newcomer Alden Ehrenreich.
In a press conference Wednesday in Buenos Aires, Coppola declined to give too many details, saying that would spoil all the fun.
"Why would I make the movie if you want to know everything now?" he told reporters.
What is known, is that Tetro tells the story of an Italian immigrant family in the Argentine capital, where Ehrenreich's character looks for his older brother, played by Gallo. The family, with Verdu playing Gallo's wife, is ridden by ferocious rivalries and tragedies.
"I have been making films for 40 years, but the idea is to always learn about me and to make films in new ways. I want to make smaller, more personal films," Coppola said.
"The larger the budget, the narrower the things you can tell - there is usually some murder, a rape. But when you have a small budget you can go into personal relations," the filmmaker said.
Coppola said his interest in families comes from a strong relationship with his own, including daughter and Academy Award winning director Sofia Coppola and nephew Nicolas Cage.
Tetro is set to be shot in about 11 weeks, mostly in Argentina, where Coppola has spent long periods in recent years.
Many scenes are to be shot in the traditional immigrant neighbourhood of La Boca in Buenos Aires and in other areas of the city, although the team led by Coppola - basically the same that worked with him in his previous feature, Youth Without Youth - will also travel to Calafate and Bariloche, in the Argentine Patagonia region.
Parts of the film will also be made in the City of Light film complex in Alicante, Spain.
Tetro is also set to feature local actors, most notably Rodrigo de la Serna from The Motorcycle Diaries.
"I knew Argentina has a great cultural, artistic, literary, musical, cinema tradition, and I like those kinds of atmospheres very much because you usually find creative people to work with," Coppola said.
As to the robbery at his production company's headquarters in Buenos Aires last year, which at one point threatened to derail the film, Coppola minimized its importance and said it was mostly photographs that were lost. The robbers also stole the script, though there was more than one copy, the director noted.
Coppola admitted that he would have liked to start shooting Tetro some 4 or 5 months earlier, but he had trouble coordinating actors' agendas. Matt Dillon was originally set to play the Gallo's part but was unable to do it.
"It is difficult to concentrate all the actors in one place, particularly when you do not have millions of euros, or better still pounds, but just some millions of dollars," Coppola joked.
Far into a long career, the filmmaker also looked back on the impact of his works.
"When my films premiered they were not the great successes that they are now. Whenever I make a movie I feel that I am working without a safety net. It is as if I had to wait 10 years to see the impact they will have," Coppola said.
Tetro's cast was generous in its praise of the acclaimed director.
De la Serna said rehearsing with Coppola was "a luxury" as well as "a great responsibility, an honour."
Gallo praised the filmmaker as "very open-minded."
"He is able to bring out one's best potential, to make one flourish," the US actor noted.
"Any excuse is good to come to Buenos Aires, but if on top of that it is because Coppola has called on you, that's just amazing," Verdu said.
For rookie Ehrenreich, working with Coppola is a "fantasy come true."
Jason Schwartzman will always be the lovable dorky Max Fischer from Rushmore, but before he won our hearts on the big screen he was a musician. Jason was the original drummer for The OC theme song band Phantom Planet. He left the band a couple years back and recently released some solo music entitled Coconut Records.
"The wonderful thing about Coconut Records is it happened by accident," he told Ourstage.com, "There isn't really a precident for what the next album will be like."
He continued, "The idea that people would show so much support just because they like something is... well, I am grateful and I thank everybody out there and I can't believe that people heard the record and liked it enough to support it.”
He isn't the only Schwartzman in the music-making biz. His younger brother, Robert, is lead singer in Rooney. And Jason knows the one way to win a girl's heart is not by taking them to one of his brother's shows. He said, "Chicks love my brother. I wouldn't take a girl to a Rooney concert; I'd take them to dinner."
For more with Jason, check out Ourstage.com.