Sofia Coppola’s latest film, Somewhere, follows Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff), an actor that leads a shallow existence at the famed West Hollywood hotel, Chateau Marmont. Between the partying and press conferences, Johnny’s few meaningful moments come when his 11-year-old daughter, Cleo (Elle Fanning) is with him. A key prop that enhances Johnny’s character is his 2002 Ferrari 360 Modena, which appears in both the opening and closing scenes of the film.
The movie opens with Johnny driving the black Modena at a racetrack. Writer/Director Coppola took inspiration for this scene from her cousin, actor Nicolas Cage, a known sports car collector. Producer (and Sofia’s big brother) Roman Coppola, says of Cage, “Typically he would take his cars to the track to drive them because those cars aren’t designed to drive in the city.” Roman further points out how the Ferrari relates to Johnny’s character: “He has this incredible car, he has wealth and fame and opportunity, but he’s stifled in some way. The fact that you would have a car that goes 200 mph that you can only drive at 35 mph seems to relate to that character trait.”
Roman says if you ask him or any of the producers the most challenging scenes to shoot, they would say the ones shot in the Ferrari. “The car is exceptional as a high-performance car, but it’s hard to shoot in,” he recalls. “In order to physically get in the car with a camera with the way the roof is so low required certain tools. But it looks beautiful in the final product.”
In the scenes where the Ferrari is prominently featured (such as the opening and when Johnny and Cleo drive to Las Vegas), the noise of the 360’s engine shines, especially because there’s minimal music in the film, which was conscientiously done on Sofia’s part – she didn’t want to rely on music to provide the emotion. Coincidentally, the sound editor, Richard Beggs, is a car aficionado. “Richard recorded the car’s sound in a very complete way,” says Roman. “Sometimes with sound effects, you just plug something in, but Richard had a particular sensitivity to that because he’s a sports car buff.”
So where is this four-wheeled co-star now? It was sent to Ferrari of Beverly Hills, where it was repainted, the original seats were put back in and it was sold.
Somewhere hits select theaters December 22. Watch the trailer here.