Academy Award-winner Sofia Coppola’s next project is a coming-of-age drama set amid San Francisco’s early AIDS crisis. The Lost in Translation director is producing the film adaptation of Alysia Abbott’s memoir, Fairyland, which depicts her youth growing up with her bisexual father in the 70s and 80s.
“I love the book Fairyland; it’s a sweet and unique love story of a girl and her dad, both growing up together in 1970s San Francisco. I think it will make an engaging and touching movie on a subject I’ve never seen before,” Coppola said shortly after her production company American Zoetrope purchased the film rights to the book in 2013.
The film, which will star Emilia Jones as Abbott and Scoot McNairy as her father Steve, recently wrapped filming but doesn’t yet have a release date or distributor. Geena Davis, Cody Fern, Adam Lambert, and Maria Bakalova also appear in the film.
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Coppola wrote an initial draft of the screenplay, rewriting it later with director Andrew Durham. The film is Durham’s feature directorial debut.
“He is a gay man who lost his own father to AIDS, so I believe he is going to be sensitive to the film,” Abbott said of Durham in a 2014 interview. “He assured me it will not be like Dallas Buyers Club.”
Abbott took issue with that 2013 film’s depiction of a straight cis male protagonist profiting off the AIDS crisis.
“Sure it showed AIDS in that era, but it didn’t, I felt, have any perspective on the wider struggle and what it meant for so many gay men.”
Abbott moved with her father to San Francisco in the early 70s after the death of her mother. He came out as bisexual when Abbott was two and died of AIDS-related complications when she was 20.
“I felt that a story like this had never been told—that is, a story of a single gay father raising a daughter in the 70s and 80s in San Francisco,” Abbott said of her memoir. “I really felt it had a cultural importance—what [it] was like to have a gay parent in that era and what it was like to lose a parent to AIDS in that era.”