Sofia Coppola’s Apple TV project with Florence Pugh got axed over an unlikable female character — WTF?

By Abby Amoakuh

Published Jan 23, 2024 at 05:54 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

On 27 October 2023, The New York Times published an interview with Sofia Coppola in which the Priscilla director spoke about some of the hurdles and challenges she has encountered over the years as one of the few successful female filmmakers.

One of these hurdles was a project with Apple TV which was first announced in 2020. Coppola had partnered with the streaming service to adapt The Custom of the Country, the 1913 Edith Warton novel, into a five-episode TV series. The book tells the story of Undine Spragg, a young and beautiful woman from the Midwest who becomes mesmerised by the glamour and extravagance of New York and attempts to rise up into the city’s high society.

The project was set to star Florence Pugh, however, it never came to fruition. According to Coppola, the Apple TV executive took issue with Undine, who is described in the book as a selfish, materialistic and negligent social climber.

“The idea of an unlikable woman wasn’t their thing,” Coppola noted. “But that’s what I’m saying about who’s in charge.”

According to the New York Times, Apple did not respond to a request for comment about the claim. However, upon the revelations of the interview, netizens had some comments of their own.

“They didn’t get the character or Undine. She’s so ‘unlikable’, but so is Tony Soprano!” Coppola added in a new interview with The New Yorker, published Monday 22 January. The director was clearly exposing what she perceived to be a sexist standard—wouldn’t be the first time, that’s for sure.

It should be noted that similar unlikeable male characters, such as journalist Georges Duroy from the 1885 novel Bel-Ami have successfully made it to the screen for decades. Bel-Ami details the story of Duroy’s corrupt rise to power. The character advances from a poor French colony in Africa to one of the most successful men in Paris by charming and seducing a series of powerful, intelligent, and wealthy women.

@jstoobs

Oh to be an unlikable female character #film #sofiacoppola #womeninfilm

♬ original sound - stoobs

Many netizens felt like it was disappointing to see Apple tighten its purse over concerns of a woman’s likeability when the one of men never seems to be in question.

This is especially prevalent because the names of powerhouses such as Pugh and Coppola on the project already made it appear like a guaranteed success.

Over the past few years, it felt as though TV shows such as Queen of the South starring Alice Braga, or Griselda starring Sofía Vergara and movies such as Promising Young Women removed the limitations for what was defined as acceptable and likeable behaviour for women on-screen.

This explains why many might feel disappointment over the limitations female characters still face due to “who’s in charge.”

Keep On Reading

By Mason Berlinka

Female characters in video games talk nearly half as much as male characters, new study reveals

By Fleurine Tideman

I love you Barbie, but we need Feral Women Media now more than ever

By Mason Berlinka

Male gamers try harder when playing against female characters, new study reveals

By Abby Amoakuh

Anti-abortion OBGYN who said 9-year-olds are fine to give birth appointed to maternal death committee

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Female students fear harassment after all-male committee form pro-life society in Manchester

By Charlie Sawyer

Real Legion from viral Who TF Did I Marry TikTok drama comes out with new response

By Abby Amoakuh

Drake responds to his nudes being leaked just hours ago

By Charlie Sawyer

A guide on how to save on your energy bills after CEO of British Gas owner admits he can’t justify his £4.5M salary

By Abby Amoakuh

How this YouTuber known for viral pranks won a seat in the European elections 2024

By Abby Amoakuh

Noah Schnapp faces renewed controversy after apology video and defence from Stranger Things co-star

By J'Nae Phillips

On TikTok, Gen Z are Jane Birkinifying their luxury bags like there’s no tomorrow

By Abby Amoakuh

Channel 4’s Queenie is a love letter to messy Black women in their quarter-life crisis

By Abby Amoakuh

Which surprise songs is Taylor Swift performing during the Eras tour? A guide on what to expect

By Charlie Sawyer

George Santos revives drag character Kitara Ravache on Cameo, charging $275 per video

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

PrettyLittleThing’s chaotic open casting call event is the fast fashion brand’s latest exploitative venture

By Charlie Sawyer

Fans in mourning after speculating that Ryan Gosling might have gotten a bad Botox job

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Andrew Tate says MrBeast’s support of trans friend Kris Tyson is fake and a psyop

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

What is the viral red nail theory and does it actually work?

By Abby Amoakuh

Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan hits back at journalist who shamed her for nude scene

By Abby Amoakuh

Nicola Peltz Beckham’s movie Lola is labelled as poverty porn from the mind of a billionaire’s daughter