Sofia Coppola Reveals Florence Pugh’s Casting and Funding Woes in Failed Apple TV+ Series Adaptation

New York City – Sofia Coppola, acclaimed film director, recently revealed details about her failed adaptation of Edith Wharton’s “The Custom of the Country” in an interview with The New Yorker. Coppola had been developing the project as a five-episode series for Apple TV+, but it was ultimately scrapped. Interestingly, it was disclosed for the first time that Oscar nominee Florence Pugh had been cast in the lead role of Undine Spragg, a Midwestern girl aspiring to climb the social ladder in New York City.

News about Coppola’s collaboration with Apple TV+ on the adaptation first broke in May 2020. However, by fall 2021, the project had been terminated due to funding issues. Reflecting on the situation, Coppola expressed disappointment, stating, “They pulled our funding. It’s a real drag. I thought they had endless resources.”

The development of Coppola’s series was expected to involve substantial costs. Her most expensive film to date was “Marie Antoinette” in 2006, which had a production budget of $45 million. Coppola had envisioned “The Custom of the Country” to be on a similar scale, describing it as “five ‘Marie Antoinettes.'”

Coppola voiced her dissatisfaction with Apple executives, whom she described as predominantly male, emphasizing their failure to grasp the character of Undine. She compared the flawed perception of Undine to that of Tony Soprano, pointing out the likability factor. Coppola had previously mentioned in an interview with The New York Times that Apple executives were hesitant to invest in her adaptation due to concerns surrounding the main character’s unlikeable nature. She highlighted the gender dynamics at play, suggesting that the people in charge of financing tend to be straight men, which affects the diversity of creative projects.

While Coppola felt let down by Apple, it is worth noting that the streaming platform is not entirely disinterested in Wharton’s work. Apple recently premiered a TV series adaptation of the author’s unfinished novel, “The Buccaneers,” which has been renewed for a second season. Additionally, Apple offers a range of shows with female protagonists, including “The Morning Show” and “Bad Sisters.”

“Custom” was intended to be a follow-up collaboration between Coppola and Apple after their successful partnership on the 2020 film “On the Rocks.” Despite the TV series not materializing, Coppola shifted her focus to another project, “Priscilla,” which received critical acclaim and achieved a domestic box office revenue of $20 million upon its release last fall.