See Adam Driver as a 'genius artist' in Francis Ford Coppola's long-awaited “Megalopolis”

The actor stars as Cesar Catalina, an artist who wants to lead humanity into "a utopian, idealistic future."

The past and future are set to collide in Megalopolis, and now we have our first glimpse of what that will look like.

The upcoming film, a years-long passion project for legendary director Francis Ford Coppola, has been doing limited screenings for Hollywood insiders in recent months, with its global premiere set for May 17 at the Cannes Film Festival. But on Tuesday morning, Coppola shared the first image from his movie: Adam Driver and Nathalie Emmanuel standing against the golden backdrop of a futuristic city skyline.

"This is the first official image of Megalopolis to be released publicly," Coppola wrote on Instagram. "It brings me joy to share a glimpse of what is to come."

According to an official synopsis, Megalopolis is "a Roman Epic fable set in an imagined Modern America." Driver stars as Cesar Catalina, "a genius artist who seeks to leap into a utopian, idealistic future." Not everyone shares his optimistic outlook, however. Mayor Franklyn Cicero, who rules the city of New Rome, wants to preserve the regressive status quo by perpetuating greed, special interests, and partisan warfare.

<p>American Zoetrope / Megalopolis / Mihai Malaimare</p> Adam Driver as Cesar Catilina and Nathalie Emmanuel as Julia Cicero in 'Megalopolis'

American Zoetrope / Megalopolis / Mihai Malaimare

Adam Driver as Cesar Catilina and Nathalie Emmanuel as Julia Cicero in 'Megalopolis'

In between these polar opposites stands the mayor's own daughter, Julia Cicero (Emmanuel), whose love for Cesar has divided her loyalties. She must discover for herself what she believes humanity deserves.

That premise definitely seems to invoke Megalopolis' namesake, the classic 1927 sci-fi silent film Metropolis, which also featured a genius inventor, a mayor ruling over a city with an unstable political situation, and a beautiful woman trying to reconcile the conflict between classes. Other inspirations for Megalopolis include the work of the late anarchist anthropologist David Graeber (like The Dawn of Everything and his notable history of debt) and Hermann Hesse's novel The Glass Bead Game, as Coppola has previously shared on Instagram.

The star-studded Megalopolis cast also includes Giancarlo Esposito, Aubrey Plaza, Shia LaBeouf, Jon VoightLaurence Fishburne, Talia Shire, Jason Schwartzman, Kathryn Hunter, Grace Vanderwaal, Chloe Fineman, James Remar, D.B. Sweeney, and Dustin Hoffman. The mother/son duo of Shire and Schwartzman are, of course, members of the extended Coppola family.

A release date in theaters has not been revealed.

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