He spent the next years digging out from under as a director for hire, making mainstream movies to pay off his debts. The work included "Bram Stoker's Dracula," a horror romance film based on Bram Stoker's novel, and "The Rainmaker," a drama based of John Grisham's novel. While both movies were box-office successes, the Hollywood system was not for Coppola. He was particularly irritated with having to work with so many different producers and competing egos for one film.
"Imagine not only does each one have an opinion that they want to tell you because they're the producer," Coppola said. "But they also want a trip to the locations. So think of how many plane tickets that is for absolutely no help to the movie whatsoever. And how many hotel rooms."
But now, Coppola in "Youth Without Youth" is back making movies his way again. Every frame of the movie emanates his sense of adventure, and like all Coppola films it's gorgeous to look at and takes a lot of risks. Coppola is passionate about the subject matter, something he says is a necessary pretext when making a film.
"Making a film is a tremendous effort," Coppola said. "You wake up at four in the morning. You work five, six, seven days a week. You're cold, you're hot, you're under pressure, you're over budget. It's really an ordeal in a way. And if that's the case, I like to choose a subject matter that I'm either in love with or that I'm desperate to learn a lot about."
Like his latest movie, his remarkable career has been all about passion and no regrets. Because life, Coppola explained, is too short to be lived any other way.
"My attitude is how can people be afraid of risk because you know, we all know the end of the story of our life. We're going to die," Coppola said. "And the only major risk that we run into is that on the moment of our death we look back and say, 'Oh, I wish I had done this. And I wish I had done that.' And I never did that. I did everything I wanted to do. So at any moment that I pass on, my death will be a happy death because it's the conclusion of a very happy life."