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Let Gia Coppola help you cast your new movie

The youngest Coppola and latest inductee of The Directors Bureau selects a new vanguard of up-and-coming actors

Evan Peters
Evan Peters Photography by Chris Shonting, used with permission

As part of our new summer US project States of Independence we've invited our favourite 30 American curators, magazines, creatives and institutions to takeover Dazed for a day.

Roman Coppola put his thang down, flipped it and reversed it by founding director's collective The Directors Bureau, a who's who of directing superstars like Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola and CANADA. For Dazed, The Directors Bureau chart the changes in indie cinema, and challenge young filmmakers to pick up a camera.

If your grandfather had directed The Godfather, and your aunt had directed The Virgin Suicides, you’d be forgiven for choosing never to step behind a camera in your life. Just think of the pressure. Luckily, Gia Coppola is made of stronger stuff. She’s also exceptionally talented and her feature film debut Palo Alto (based on a collection of short stories by James Franco of the same name) marks the growth of another branch on the remarkably leafy Coppola family tree – a tree planted firmly in sunny LA. Palo Alto is, of course, not her only project to date. She's also directed stunning shorts for Rodarte and Zac Posen’s 'Target line', a music video for San Diego foursome The Soft Pack and, more recently, the music video for Blood Orange's "You're not good enough". With her finger firmly on the pulse of what's young and Hollywood, Gia selects a slate of fresh acting talent.

JACK KILMER

Possibly possessing the prettiest face in Hollywood right now, apparently 18-year-old Jack Kilmer didn’t want to act. To be fair, not many of us are that keen on following in our parents footsteps (he’s the son of Val Kilmer and Joanne Whalley, who have appeared in about 150 films between them). But after being his “Buddy” at Kintergarden, Gia Coppola stalked him until he accepted the lead role of ‘Teddy’, the sweet stoner teen in Palo Alto. She says, “I couldn’t have done it without him - Jack is a little angel. he’s really special and I love to see how he interacts with the world, it’s so unique.”

Jack Kilmer
Jack Kilmer in “Palo Alto” Courtesy of Metrodome Pictures

EVAN PETERS

Currently making the rounds on many FYeah! Tumblrs as the subject of a parade of emo gifs and bizarre fanfics, Evan Peters is perhaps best known for his role in American Horror Story, where he plays a hot, sociopathic ghost called Tate Langdon. He also sped around as silver-haired mutant Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past. “I know Evan loosely through Emma (Roberts)," explains Gia Coppola. "I saw him in X-Men and he just totally stole that movie and he’s only in it for a few minutes. I think he’s really talented. I’ve seen a little bit of American Horror Story so I’m excited to see his career grow."

DAKOTA JOHNSON

Currently, Dakota Johnson's name is synonymous with her role as Anastacia Steele in the hotly anticipated film 50 Shades of Grey. It is based on the mummy porn book in which Anastacia gets spanked with a hairbrush in return for a fresh new iPad… or something along those lines. She also appeared in The Social Network back in 2010 and 21 Jump Street. “Dakota is cool and I’m excited for 50 Shades of Grey," says Coppola. "I just like her style. I think she’s pretty.”

EMMA ROBERTS

Like Jack Kilmer, Emma Roberts also followed in her family's Oscar-dust covered footsteps (she's the niece of Julia Roberts and daughter of Eric Roberts). “Emma is very supportive and she’s really, really funny too," says Coppola. "She’s been acting since she was nine; she’s really intelligent and she reads a lot. I’m always learning new things from her – she’s been a great friend." After appearing in a string of happy family-type films and Nickelodeon series Unfabulous, she transformed on screen into a bloodthirsty, fame-hungry killer in slasher Scream 4. She recently appeared alongside her fiancé Evan Peters in American Horror Story, where she played self-involved party girl Madison – who also happens to be a telekinetic witch. She also plays the lead role April in Coppola's debut film Palo Alto, the last remaining virgin at her high school (shock, horror!)

ELLE FANNING

The youngest of the Fanning sisters, Elle made her debut at the usual Hollywood age of two when she starred alongside Dakota Fanning in the American drama I Am Sam. “I’ve known Elle since she was 11 when she did Somewhere (directed by aunty Sofia) and I got the privilege of watching her grow up," Coppola muses. "She’s a very talented young actress and very sweet and very innocent but still very wise beyond her years and mature. I just think she’s really magical.”

ZOE SIDEL

Actress and all-round debutante Zoe Bleu Sidel is the youngest offspring of Rosanna Arquette (you know, the Rosanna Arquette from Pulp Fiction). Although she’s appeared in a couple of films so far (The Bling Ring and Battle for Terra) she’s actually more interested in getting a good degree than following in her mother's footsteps, which is perhaps why she turned down a role in Palo Alto. Despite that, Gia Coppola still sings her praises: “Zoe is really cool and has  awesome and interesting style – she always wears vintage. I think she’s studying acting still, so I look forward to seeing what she does next.”

NAT WOLFF

Last month, we spoke to actor Nat Wolff about groping his on-screen girlfriend and pretending to blind. That was in preparation for his role as Isaac in The Fault in Our Stars, the first in a rapid detour from his Nickelodeon days and a foray into more 'serious' territory. His starring role in Palo Alto is a continuation in said territory and Gia Coppola has lots of good words to say about the young New Yorker. “Nat I’ve gotten to know on Palo Alto and he’s just become such a good friend. He’s also a really intelligent and funny young kid; he has really helped me learn so much about his character.”

ZOE LEVIN

“Zoe is very soulful," says Coppola. "I learned so much from her character, which I wouldn’t have expected because she has so much soul and heart. She’s a very sweet young lady.” The garden-fresh talent from Hollywood plays one of the high school girls in Palo Alto. Last year Zoe Levin appeared alongside Steve Carell as his stepdaughter in comedy-drama The Way Way Back (she's the one who murmurs "Enjoy therapy" lovingly to her brother) as well as Trust (directed by Ross from Friends) and US indie film Beneath the Harvest Sky.

RILEY KEOUGH

The eldest grandchild of Elvis Presley, Riley Keough is another child of Hollywood. Her debut on screen in 2010 was alongside Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart in The Runaways, a biopic based on the 70s all-girl rock band of the same name. She’s since appeared in The Good Doctor and Magic Mike, a film about a group of male strippers. “She’s a really talented young actress," Coppola observes. "I’ve known her since she was little, we kind of grew up together and I’m excited to see what she does.” Oh, one last thing worth mentioning – she used to be the stepdaughter of Michael Jackson

KEEGAN ALLEN

When Keegan Allen isn’t taking photographs of his travels, friends and exploits and putting them on his Tumblr, the Gary Johnston look-a-like is playing Toby on teen drama thriller TV series Pretty Little Liars. He also writes gooey-eyed acoustic songs that make American tweenagers scream like demented banshees. Gia Coppola is a fan of his too. “Keegan is a good friend of mine. He plays the drug dealer in Palo Alto and he’s in Pretty Little Liars but I hope to see him in more movies."

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