Though he was a producer on his sister Sofia's Somewhere and cowrote Moonrise Kingdom with his good friend Wes Anderson, it's been over a decade since Roman Coppola directed a movie—his debut, CQ. With his long-awaited follow-up, the surrealist relationship comedy A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, out this month, the 47-year-old filmmaker explains the movie's origins and his surprising choice of Charlie Sheen as romantic lead.

DETAILS: You and Charlie Sheen met when your fathers were making Apocalypse Now. Was it loyalty that made you stick with him?
Roman Coppola: A friendship with someone at 12 is an enduring thing. Still, it took some time for him to commit to me during all that public stuff. I just hung in there and kept, you know, not letting him off the hook, frankly. A lot of people didn't think I was making a good judgment. But when he said, "I will be there for you," that was all I needed.

DETAILS: Was there any backlash to casting him?
Roman Coppola: We weren't able to insure or bond the film and some other problems, but I just wouldn't let them stop me. And I'm so grateful, because he gave a really nuanced performance. He's charismatic and comes through with wit, charm, and depth of feeling.

DETAILS: You wrote this movie after a breakup. What did you want it to convey?
Roman Coppola: Relationship movies are often made for a female audience. I thought a guy's point of view would be kind of novel. I wanted to do a portrait of this outlandish, balls-out character who has a toucan and drives an old Cadillac with eggs painted on the side.

DETAILS: Which of your actors has the worst style?
Roman Coppola: Billy Murray, but in a great way. He'll wear a Chicago Cubs poncho. It's glorious but something that only he can do.

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Coppola's Cultural Diet

Favorite clothes
"A Battistoni suit and an Albertelli shirt."

Go-to karaoke song
"'My Way.' 'Cause you don't really have to sing it—you just talk it."

The one actor, living or dead, I wish I could work with
"Errol Flynn. I kind of feel Charlie is a bit in that mold."

Guilty pleasure
"Cruising real-estate websites and fantasizing about private islands."

Fashion icon
"Jack Nicholson back in that mid-seventies period was a pretty sharp dresser."

Nonexistent product that should be mass-produced
"My invention, Booby Bounce. Basically, large inflatable breasts that you can jump around on at a bachelor party."

Last meal
"Fugu fish, 'cause I wouldn't care that it could kill me off."

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